The lone finalist for Stephenville High School’s head football coaching position is a familiar figure among local fans — Sterling Doty.

Doty, a 2001 graduate of Stephenville High School, was named as the lone finalist early Tuesday afternoon in an email from SISD Superintendent Matt Underwood. He played on the SHS teams that won back-to-back state football titles in 1998 and 1999 under former head coach Art Briles.

If officially confirmed, Doty will be the replacement for former head coach Greg Winder.

“We are excited about the vested interest in our community that Sterling has expressed, and are excited about the future of Yellow Jacket football,” Underwood stated in the email.

SISD Athletic Director Jerod Womack said that approximately 30 resumes were received after the position became vacant on Feb. 4. 

Doty, 36, has been head football coach at Magnolia High School, a Class 5A Division I school, since 2014.

Under Doty, Magnolia’s Bulldogs have fielded consistently strong offensive squads using a spread offense. They averaged 538 yards in total offense per game this past season, which was second-best in Class 5A, Underwood noted. The Bulldogs had a 5-5 record in 2018, with a 3-4 mark in District 8-5A Division I. They finished fifth in the eight-team race. Magnolia was also 5-5 in 2017, but qualified for the playoffs before falling in the bi-district round.

Doty was a finalist for the Touchdown Club of Houston’s Coach of the Year honor in 2015. His Magnolia teams were 10-2 in both 2015 and 2016, following a 3-7 mark his first year there.

He played college football at the University of Houston, where he was a first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2006.

He and his wife Mandi have three boys — Cooper, 10, Kipton, 8, and Cohen, 4.

Underwood stated on Feb. 4 that Winder had resigned his position in what he referred to as “a mutually agreed-upon decision by coach Winder and the administration.”

Winder had been the head coach of the Yellow Jackets for the past four seasons. His teams qualified for the playoffs each of his four years, but his overall record at SHS was 26-22.

Winder led the Jackets to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals in 2017. In 2018 SHS beat Fort Worth Dunbar in the opening round, then fell to Celina in an area round playoff, 31-21.

Winder’s record at SHS in 2015, his first season as a head coach after many years as an assistant, was 4-7. In 2016 his Jackets were 3-8.

The team surprised some observers with its remarkable run to the state semifinals in 2017, when the Jackets won five playoff games before falling to Kennedale in the semifinals and finishing 12-3.

The Jackets had a strong crop of juniors that season, which led to the 2018 team starting the season not only with high expectations locally, but also among statewide prognosticators.

In the preseason, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine named Stephenville as its pick for the third-best team in 4A Division II, behind only Argyle and defending state champion Carthage.

The 2018 Jackets were also picked by Dave Campbell’s magazine to be the District 5-4A Division I favorite, ahead of Waco La Vega. However, La Vega emerged to be the eventual state champion — defeating the Jackets, 32-15 in district play. SHS finished as the district runner-up, at 3-1.