Football coach's return to DeSoto put on hold

DeSOTO, Texas -- The DeSoto ISD school board tabled action Monday on Claude Mathis' return as head football coach until the next school board meeting Feb. 27.

The request for a two-week delay came from board member Donald Gant following a half-hour executive session.

With Mathis in the audience, DeSoto interim superintendent Levatta Levels said it was her recommendation that the hiring process for a new coach be halted and that Mathis’ appeal to return be accepted. She praised the coach for his contributions to the school district.

“The DeSoto ISD Board has always treated me great and made the correct decisions and I trust them,’’ said Mathis, who guided the Eagles to the playoffs in each of his four seasons, going 36-14. DeSoto was 10-2 in 2011 and lost to Dallas Skyline in the area round of the playoffs.

Mathis left DeSoto High School last month to take an assistant coaching job with the University of Houston. Houston announced Saturday that Mathis was leaving the Cougars less than a month after he was hired to be their running backs coach.

Mathis said he didn’t consider his decision to accept the Houston job a “mistake’’ and that he still wants to someday coach at the college level.

“The timing was wrong,’’ Mathis said. “It wasn’t the right time. The problem was I had just 24 hours to think about it. That’s how fast it happened.’’

Late last week, he said he weighed the pros and cons and made another difficult decision, to leave Houston.

“You’ve got to think about family, you have to put them first,’’ Mathis said.

“I couldn’t have been treated any better by Houston and coach [Tony] Levine.’’

DeSoto ISD had been in the middle of its search to replace Mathis. Applications were accepted until Feb. 3. At the time, DeSoto athletic director Pam DeBorde said the district had received over 70 applications.