Copperas Cove has new head football coach, athletic director
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees held a special meeting on Monday evening, when they approved contracts for Cari Lowery as the district’s new athletic director and Tony Johnson as the district’s head football coach.
Johnson, from W.T. White High School in Dallas ISD, is now CCISD’s Head Football Coach. Johnson had been with W.T. White High School since 2018.
He’s been coaching since 1994 and has coached at both the collegiate level, at schools like Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and the high school level.
The vote to approve Johnson was again 4 to 1, with S. Ann Davis absent and Gorres voting against.
“The board and I discussed this, and we divided those two roles just thinking that we really want the football coach to have an opportunity to focus on the boys side of sports, specifically football, be able to do the things that need to be done there, and really it is - Tony's well aware- it's a rebuilding opportunity,” said CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns.
Lowery has been with the district since 2004, where she has served as the Girls’ Athletics Coordinator and the Head Volleyball Coach. In her 29-year career as a head coach, Lowery has seen her teams make 27 state playoff appearances, and she is the 12th winningest coach in the history of Texas volleyball.
“I want you to know if she's employed in that capacity, she will be number 30, the 30th woman to hold an athletic director's position in the state of Texas,” Burns said. “She's in pretty slim company, but they are in large districts, all the way to the largest in the state, and some of the very smallest, and we think we've got a good one and we would wholeheartedly recommend her to the position of athletic director.”
After a motion was made by Faison, with a second by Wilburn, trustee Jeff Gorres requested to ask questions and focused on the fact that the positions were split, adding an additional administrative position to the district.
“In the discussions we've had with the board, we decided to separate those positions into an AD position and a Head Coach for football,” Burns said.
“Going forward is going to require a different budget outlay, right?” Gorres asked.
“Typically, I don't think it's going to require much because everything they do is within the budget of the Athletic Department that is there now,” Burns said. “I mean, it is a staffing position that will be added there, but that will be a new line item for budget expenditures and all those other things. The sports have theirs, and so it will continue along that line.”
The vote to approve Lowery as the new Athletic Director was 4 to 1, with S. Ann Davis absent and Gorres voting against.
The positions became vacant after former Head Coach/Athletic Director Jason Hammett resigned last month. Hammett had held both positions concurrently from 2020 until his resignation earlier this year.
After his resignation, the CCISD board and Superintendent made the decision to split the role into two positions before opening the positions to applicants.
For the position of Athletic Director, the district received 34 applications, 32 of which were men and two were women, according to Burns. A committee consisting of trustees Inez Faison and Mike Wilburn, CCISD Director of Music/Head Band Instructor Antonio Chapa, CCHS Principal Dr. Jimmy Shuck and Burns conducted interviews with the top three applicants before recommending Lowery to be the district’s new Athletic Director.
The district received 71 applications for the position of Head Football Coach. The committee, made up of Faison, Wilburn, Chapa, Shuck, Burns and Lowery (as the Girls Athletic Coordinator), interviewed six applicants.