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Search for East football coach nears conclusion

By MIKE FORMAN
Jan. 18, 2012 at 8 p.m.
Updated Jan. 18, 2012 at 7:19 p.m.

The two finalists for the vacant Victoria East football coach job, from left: Cy-Springs coach and former Ray coach Roland Gonzalez and East offensive coordinator Brad Eblen.

Two finalists have emerged to become the head football coach at Victoria East.

East offensive coordinator Brad Eblen and current Cypress Springs and former Corpus Christi Ray head football coach Roland Gonzalez are the leading candidates to become the school's second head football coach, according to sources with knowledge of the coaching search.

Ralph Escalona, athletic director for the Victoria School District, expects a recommendation for the new head coach to be made at Thursday night's meeting of the board of trustees.

Escalona refused to comment on the finalists or who would be recommended by Superintendent Bob Moore.

The district received approximately 65 applications to replace Mickey Finley, who resigned in November after coaching the Titans to an 18-7 record, two playoff appearances and one district title in their first two seasons.

A search committee interviewed a group of candidates, including Victoria High graduate and current Columbia athletic director and head football coach Leland Surovik, who withdrew from consideration.

Eblen has been with the Victoria school district for six years.

He spent four seasons at Memorial and two at East. He was the head coach of the girls track and field team at Memorial before coaching the boys track and field team at East.

Eblen was the head football coach at Class 2A Somerville from 1999 through 2004. He had an overall record of 17-43.

Eblen has also coached at Grandview, Everman, Water Valley, New Deal and Muleshoe.

Gonzalez was a finalist to become the athletic director and head football coach at Memorial when Finley got the job before the 2007 season.

Gonzalez played quarterback at Ray and was the head coach at his alma mater for five seasons.

The Texans went 33-20, won two district championships and made four playoff appearances.

Gonzalez has a 10-29 record at Cypress Springs. The Panthers went 0-10 last season.

Gonzalez began his coaching career at Stephenville, where he was the head baseball coach, and also coached at Corpus Christi Moody and Corpus Christi King.

East finished second in District 30-4A last season and advanced to the Division I area playoffs before ending the season with a 7-5 record.

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