By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 3, 2015) — Tarleton State is bringing back the winningest coach in the modern era of its football program.
Todd Whitten will return to Tarleton for a third time as head coach. He guided the Texans to a 5-5 record in just their second year in the NCAA in 1996, and returned to lead them to a share of the Lone Star Conference championship and the Division II national quarterfinals in 2001 then the playoffs again in 2004.
Tarleton is holding a press conference at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Wisdom Gym to formally announce the hiring of Whitten, who holds an overall record of 45-23 at the school, including a 40-18 mark from 2000-04, when Tarleton also won a pair of LSC North Division titles.
“For me, what sets him apart from a pool of very good applicants are his experience and what he’s proven he can do here at Tarleton,” said athletic director Lonn Reisman in a brief exclusive telephone interview with The Flash Thursday afternoon. “He’s already the winningest coach in the history of our program, he has won division and conference championships here and he has taken us into the national spotlight. We’re bringing Todd home to get us back into that spotlight again.”
Whitten left Tarleton following the 2004 season to be head coach at Sam Houston State. He is currently a receivers coach at UTEP. Whitten interviewed on the Tarleton campus Wednesday and informed UTEP officials Thursday morning he was accepting the job.
Whitten replaces Cary Fowler, who led Tarleton to a 30-32 record the last six seasons. Fowler resigned on November 16, two days after the conclusion of a 3-7 campaign. He led Tarleton to a share of the LSC title ion 2013.
Mason Miller has been interim head coach since the resignation of Fowler. Miller came to Tarleton as assistant head coach and offensive line coach in 2014 and was also offensive coordinator in 2015.
Tarleton alumnus Scott Carey had an on campus interview Tuesday, according to multiple sources. Carey played offensive line at Tarleton from 1994-97 and was an assistant coach with the Texans from 2006-10. He is currently the offensive line coach at Abilene Christian.