Photo courtesy Jason Gann/PantherPics

MAYPEARL, Texas — The Maypearl Independent School District announced the hiring of Sam Riepe as its new athletic director and head football coach last Thursday following a school board meeting.

He received a unanimous 7-0 vote from the board’s members. He also won the position over two other candidates with head coaching experience at the  Class 2A through 4A levels.

“He definitely had the all-around experience we needed as a former assistant athletic director and assistant head coach and current assistant principal,” Principal Lesley Austin said of Riepe. “I loved one of the candidates’ charisma and strong core values. He was a lot like Sam in that respect. I definitely wanted him to be part of our team but wasn’t ready for him to be an athletic director yet.”

She said he went through a multistep process that included narrowing of nearly 200 hundred applicants to a pools of six by a selection committee. The group included the girls’ coordinator Jim Wood, assistant football coach Mark Foreman, and two other administrators. Richie Bowling, the ISD superintendent, was also a part of the committee.

Fourteen hours later, the group cut that number again — this time in half.

The remaining three prospective employees were interviewed a final committee consisting of the campus principals and superintendent.

“We kinda went into it with the mindset of ‘What’s going to be best for Maypearl?’ That coach had to put academics first and want to work in Maypearl and with our kids,” she said. “Riepe brought all of those to the table plus he knows our kids and the community.”

Former Head Coach Tal Sanders. Photo courtesy Maypearl ISD

Riepe replaced recently retired Head Coach Tal Sanders, who submitted his letter of resignation on Dec. 12. Sanders compiled a 17-15 overall and 11-8 district record and led the Panthers to the playoffs two times during his three-year tenure.

Riepe will assume the AD and head coaching positions officially March 1. Before landing in Maypearl, he was Ferris ISD’s assistant AD and assistant head football coach.

As the Panthers’ defensive schemer, Riepe helped field a unit that allowed 21.1 points per game. That included 14 during a five-point win against state ranked Grandview. Seven of Maypearl’s 11 opponents scored six or fewer points.

The biggest losses came against Kemp and Sunnyvale and by 51- and 31-point margins. Each of those teams reached at least the area round of the UIL Class 3A playoffs. Kemp’s 13-2 overall and 6-1 District 6 YellowJackets reached the state semifinal but lost to state championship runner up Brock.

RELATED: Unranked Maypearl Stuns Grandview, Shakes Associated Press Polls in Upset Victory

“One of the things I’m going to try to improve is the offseason summer programs. We’re a little bit behind in the strength program,” he said. “That’s the main focus right now, getting the kids caught up compared to the other kids in the area.”

Next season, he will field a team light on experience in 2018 and one with approximately six to seven seniors returning to play a final season.

Running back and linebacker Tyler Stroud, offensive and defensive lineman Kyler Patton, and wide receiver and strong safety Cooper Maxwell, all part of the expected junior class, could be factors.  So, too, could the replacement for the soon-to-be graduated Gunner Petty.

Maypearl will have to replace the dual-threat talent of Gunner Petty. The quarterback is scheduled to graduate in the spring. Photo courtesy Jerome Stewart

Wherever he is. 

Riepe said he hopes the heir-apparent to Maypearl’s  incumbent dual-threat quarterback star lies somewhere on the freshman, sophomore, or junior level. The player than assumes the mantle as starter will be the first in a new-look offense.

“We’re going to be well balanced. It’s not going to look like we did last year, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “We’ll mix up formations to keep [teams] off balance. We might be under center all game. The next game we might work out of the shotgun.”

Maypearl and its new athletic director and head football coach will also face an added challenge: navigating arguably one of the most daunting district schedules regardless of classification. The wake of the 2018 UIL realignment didn’t only shake up pairings on the Class 6A, 5A, and 4A levels, it created parity in Class 3A. too.


“We’ve got to take it one game at a time. I know that Dave Campbell’s Texas Football ranked our district the third toughest 3A [district] in the state,” Riepe said. “It’s just one game at a time and putting our kids in the right situations to be successful.”

Perhaps none more so than the newly-formed Region III District 9 containing the likes of Grandview, Grosebeck, Maypearl, McGregor, Teague, West, and Whitney High Schools.

“The district we’re leaving wasn’t easy, but we’re leaving that one and joining one where six of the seven made the playoffs last year,” he added. “You have Teague and West that lost to the eventual state champions in Rockdale. Grandview lost to Kemp in the fourth round. Groesbeck, which went to the first round, is bringing everybody back.”

The seven-program pairing that could house one of those team’s first round opponent is no easier. Cameron Yoe, Jarrell, Little River Academy, and state champion Rockdale share space in District 10.

Riepe, who doubles as the boys’ basketball coach, is preparing the boys’ basketball team for a bi-district  basketball against Malakoff on Tuesday night. His team beat No. 12 Wall High School 49-43 in overtime by erasing a 19-point halftime deficit.

According to Maypearl’s new AD, assistant coach Justin Pinson will take over as the head basketball coach and he will transition to his director and football duties at the conclusion of the basketball season.

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