Hallsville Independent School District wrapped up its search for a head football coach and director of athletics Monday with a big splash.

The district's school board approved Mineola's Joe Drennon as its next leader. Drennon will join the Bobcats program on the heels of a Class 3A Division I football state championship won in December and serious pushes for the title in 2014 and 2015.

"Their school district in and of itself is what attracted me," Drennon said. "I think they've got a lot of promise there. I like their administration. They've been really good to me in our visits. The facilities they have, I think, are second to none. I just think it's a great opportunity for myself and my family."

Hallsville's football team posted a 2-8 record last season and missed both branches of the Class 5A state playoffs. Former coach David Plunk was reassigned within the district in January and is expected to take a job elsewhere.

Plunk guided the Bobcats to a 64-63 overall record through 12 seasons and is the school's winningest coach. The football program reached the postseason six times in his tenure.

Drennon, who previously was the head coach at Corsicana Mildred and Liberty-Eylau, amassed a 75-33 record with Mineola. He owned a record of 43-6 his final three years with a state championship game appearance in 2014 and a trip state semifinals in 2015 ahead of this past season's title game win.

Mineola's 2016 team finished 14-2 and lost zero games to Class 3A schools at large.

"I'm so grateful for the time I got to spend there," Drennon said. "I love that community. I love those kids and the parents. It's been a blessing to be there. It's a great job. It's not anything more than I just felt like it was time to make a move and go on to another chapter in my life.

"I enjoy starting programs and trying to make them successful. That's what we're fixing to do at Hallsville."

Drennon will oversee an all-encompassing athletics program with a recent history of triumphs.

Hallsville's softball team reached the 5A state semifinals in the spring of 2015 and the baseball team made it to the regional semifinals the same season. Both of those teams reached the playoffs once again last year, and the baseball team was ranked eighth in the 2017 TexasHSBaseball.com 5A preseason poll.

Hallsville's volleyball team has been East Texas' longest-surviving at the large-sized level in recent seasons. The basketball teams are competitive within district play.

District 16-5A rival Texas High also made a football coaching hire Monday. It brought in Gerry Stanford from Flower Mound Marcus. Stanford was White Oak's head coach earlier in the decade.

Marshall, a fellow 16-5A program, has a head football coach vacancy and an athletics director vacancy that could go to the same hire. Clint Harper left the school earlier this month to become the athletics director of the Duncanville Independent School District.

Michael Drennon, a rising senior linebacker, will join Joe Drennon and the rest of the family in the move to Hallsville. He won the 2015 ETSN.fm Football Super Team's Defensive Newcomer of the Year award as a sophomore.

"I have not seen one kid, one practice or anything," Joe Drennon said. "I think Mike's a pretty good linebacker and I think he's got to go like he does at Mineola or anywhere else he goes. He'll have to go prove himself."

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