MUSTANG — After a slow offseason, the high school football coaching carousel is suddenly spinning wildly, just as the spring practice period opened Monday.
The two largest schools in the Oklahoma City metro area have both been hit with coaching vacancies in the last two weeks.
Mustang needed only 10 days to fill its opening, snatching Jeremy Dombek from Edmond North in a move that became official at the Mustang school board meeting Monday night.
Dombek will replace Ty Prestidge, who resigned on May 3 to take an offensive coordinator position with longtime friend Todd Dilbeck at Choctaw.
“Mustang is one of those programs that most of the coaches on this side of the state have kept an eye on,” Dombek said. “It's an attractive place, with the vision of their administration, and what they're doing with their facilities and things like that. I'm excited.
“But (Monday) was a very bittersweet day. Probably the toughest day I've ever had in coaching. But I know Edmond North is going to be in good hands.”
One key factor for Dombek was Mustang's “one town, one team” approach — the school district's desire to remain unified as one high school, rather than to split into multiple high schools, as most of the big school districts in the Oklahoma City metro have done.
“That ‘one town, one team' idea is very attractive,” Dombek said. “I think it allows an opportunity to build a program at the lower levels, and I'm very excited about that.”
Meanwhile, talk continues to circulate in Edmond that a fourth high school could be on the way, and high school coaches generally don't have as much involvement with the middle school programs as Dombek will experience in Mustang.
Now, Edmond North must work quickly to fill its vacancy, with limited time remaining to complete the 10 allowed spring practices. And Edmond North's hire is likely to topple another domino in the coaching world — and more could still follow.
Edmond Public Schools athletic director Mike Nunley said there won't be a panicked rush in the selection process, and practice will go on as planned.
“The timing adds to the challenge of replacing Jeremy,” Nunley said. “As always, the time frame is to hire as soon as we can, but to vet the system well. We need to hire someone, but we're not going to put ourselves in a box where we can't hire the best possible person for Edmond North and Edmond athletics.
“We have a solid number of coaches on staff who are still in place, and they want to get out there and work, keep those kids going. But they'll be out there practicing.”
For Mustang, the hiring of a coach with Dombek's successful past is a victory after the unexpected loss of Prestidge earlier this month.
Mustang missed the playoffs in 2012, despite a 6-4 record. It was the second straight year the Broncos fell short of the postseason.
Edmond North has reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs each of the last three seasons under Dombek, and missed the playoffs only once since he took over in 2007.
“He's a proven coach, and that was one of the criteria we looked at,” Mustang athletic director Chuck Bailey said. “We wanted somebody that fit our community and our kids, and could take us to a new level. That's what everybody wants — if you're not winning state championships, you want to get to a new level.
“We're really excited and really looking forward to the future here.”