COLUMBIA- Interim Rock Bridge football coach Joe Collier tells ABC 17 he will interview for the full-time head coach openings at Rock Bridge and Hickman this week. Interim Hickman football coach Devin Brown confirmed he did not apply for the full-time position at Hickman, citing family reasons.
Both coaches spoke with ABC 17 Sports Director Austin Kim over the phone Monday evening.
According to Collier, he is one of eight applicants the Bruins will interview for their coaching vacancy. Collier added he is scheduled to interview for the Hickman job later this week.
Columbia Public Schools district spokesperson Michelle Baumstark confirmed the two schools could interview candidates as early as this week.
Collier said if Rock Bridge considered him the favorite to land the full-time position, he believes there would not be an extensive search like there is now. He said he is not bitter, adding he wants to earn the right to have his interim tag removed.
"That's the job."Collier said in a phone interview. "I am going to prepare and I am going to fight for it. Coach Ofodile made me work for every position I ever had."
The former Rock Bridge defensive coordinator replaced former Bruins head coach A.J. Ofodile, who left to join Barry Odom and Mizzou Football as director of recruiting operations in May. Coincidentally, Ofodile replaced Odom as Rock Bridge head coach in 2003 when Odom left to join Mizzou as a graduate assistant.
Collier's Bruins finished the 2016 season with a 2-8 record.
Brown said he wanted to spend more time with his family after he completed the year as the Kewpies' interim head coach. Brown took over for Arnel Monroe, who passed away suddenly in early June. Hickman finished last season 1-9.
"It was just time to step back," Brown said.
When asked if he would be an assistant on the next Kewpies coaching staff, he said he will "wait and see." Brown also said he did not know who Hickman was considering as its next head coach. He added he wanted to stay away from the process "out of respect" for Hickman athletic director J.D. Coffman.
Multiple sources have told ABC 17 both programs received applications from "impressive candidates" from the entire state. Sources also say both coaching searches could spill into January, even as late as February depending on the number of applicants.
Baumstark said the district posted the jobs at Hickman and Rock Bridge several weeks ago. Baumstark confirmed the application process will close before the district's winter break, which starts Wednesday, December 21. The spokesperson added each school received at least 50 applicants for the open position, with some applicants applying for both positions.