Sanger ISD trustees approve the hire of Chad Rogers as head football coach, boys’ athletic director
Sanger ISD trustees unanimously approved the hire of Chad Rogers to be the Indians’ next boys' athletic director and head football coach at a board meeting Friday morning. Sanger ISD superintendent Dr. Tommy Hunter and the seven person committee recommended the hire and school board member Bruce Elsey made the motion for the hire and board member Jesse Hunter seconded the motion, and the motions ended in a 7-0 vote.
A veteran coach with an extensive winning pedigree, Rogers was most recently the head coach and athletic director at Tioga High School. Over the last two seasons, Rogers compiled a 13-9 record, leading the Bulldogs to a district championship in 2022.
“I am excited to get Coach Rogers here so he can begin building relationships with our student-athletes, our parents, and our community,” Sanger ISD Superintendent Dr. Tommy Hunter said. “He and his family will be an asset to our school district, and we are excited about the future of our athletic programs.”
Hunter said there were 142 applicants for the position, a pool the committee narrowed down before conducting multiple rounds of interviews. Rogers emerged as the leader for the job in the second round of interviews, in which candidates made 25- to 30-minute presentations on how their programs would be run, touching on details such as offseason training to junior high programs.
Rogers’ plan for a pre-athletic program starting in fifth and sixth grade intended to prepare students on their way up to the varsity football team made him stand out among the candidates, according to Hunter.
“Throughout the entire process, it was neat to see Chad Rogers continue to rise to the top, because in all transparency and honesty, after the first interview, he wasn’t our No. 1 candidate,” Hunter said. “After the second interview, everything changed. … He just shined in that second round. We just knew he was our guy.”
In his 22 seasons as a head coach, Rogers made the playoffs 14 times, amassing a 159-94 career record. In 11 seasons as the head coach at Snyder from 2001-2012, Rogers went 96-40. Following his stint at Snyder, Rogers spent 10 seasons at Denison. While at the helm of the Yellowjackets, Rogers won eight consecutive games against rival Sherman in the coveted Battle of the Axe.
Rogers has been named District Coach of the Year six times and was a state semifinalist in 2004 and 2007. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University.
“As a search and interview committee consisting of educators who collectively have 139 years in public education, we created a characteristic profile to assist in narrowing down the applicants,” Dr. Hunter said. “We, like our community, felt characteristics such as integrity, humility, leadership, discipline, and academic excellence within the athletic program were just as important as their head coaching records. Throughout the process, Coach Rogers kept rising to the top of the list.”
Rocky Smart had been the program’s head coach since his February 2019 hiring, and Galbreath became solely the athletic director in 2016 after serving in both posts concurrently dating back to 2007. Smart is the head football coach at Valley View.
Rogers’ hiring also marks a departure from Sanger’s previous one-athletic director model under Galbreath, who retired in January. The school will now split the duties between two positions with Rogers in the boys athletic director role, while girls athletic coordinator Tracy Sykes will serve as girls athletic director.
Although Rogers was approved unanimously by the school board in a 7-0 vote, not everyone at the board meeting agreed with the hire.
Sanger residents Sandra Miller, Jessica Albritton and Callie Baird McPherson each voiced a variety of concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting. Much of the subject centered on Sanger not hiring Marcus Schulz — the current athletic director and head football coach at Humble High who has strong ties to the Sanger community.
Schulz, who spent seven seasons leading Splendora before taking over at Humble in 2021, has tallied a 36-56 record over the last nine years combined.
Two other members of the community spoke up in favor of Rogers during the public comment period — Sanger head athletic trainer Martin Caddell and David York, president of Sanger’s youth sports board.
Board member Lisa Cody acknowledged the community’s split opinions during the questioning period of the meeting before Rogers’ approval.
“I am torn by this decision, torn by what’s happened here,” Cody said. “This is a huge decision. Outside the superintendent, this is probably the most important decision in a district.
“We have to come together as a community, we have to think of our kids. This [search] committee was a good committee. I had questions on this committee, I doubted some of the people on this committee — I do not doubt them anymore.”
Hunter acknowledged the weight Rogers’ hire holds in the community and is confident he can shape the program for the future.
“This is a position that impacts more than just athletics. It impacts our entire community,” Hunter said. “Everybody I spoke with personally about coach Rogers, whether it was about his professional or personal life, it was nothing but glowing remarks. The more references I checked, the more excited I became about getting him here.”
Rogers is ready to hit the ground running and begin preparing his program for the upcoming season.
“The main thing is getting to know the kids, getting to spend time with the kids to sort of figure this out,” Rogers said. “I have to learn fast. I feel like I’m behind already, but I’ve done it before. I haven’t done it a lot, haven’t taken over a lot of schools in 30 years, but I have a plan. I have a system that I try to follow with what I need to get done by a certain time. A majority of that we’ve already got checked off.”
Rogers started his duties with the district on March 1.
Rogers and his family sat in the packed board room for over an hour while he listened to comments from the public. He wasn’t fazed by it at all. He said after the meeting, he appreciated the passion in the people and he’s ready to start winning them over. “The funny thing is when I was hired at Snyder, there was some opposition. They were saying I was too young and inexperienced. I told my wife we have come full circle. Now, I am too experienced.” Rogers says he has plenty of passion and energy to take Sanger to the next level, on the field, in the classroom and at home.
Sanger ISD board members - L-R: Bruce Elsey, Ann Marie Afflerbach, Sarah York, Chad Rogers, Dr. Tommy Hunter (Superintendent), Lisa Cody, Jarrod Roberts and Jesse Hunter.
Chad Rogers with wife Leanne and children Chance Rogers and Samantha Parker.