Westwood Independent School District was seeking a young, innovative football coach for its vacancy created when Kevin Hayes announced his retirement earlier this year.
Well, the school district has found its man — and Richard Bishop was formally introduced as the new athletic director and head football coach at Monday's board meeting.
“He will stress a certain culture with the program,” said Westwood superintendent Wade Stanford. “I think he has a brilliant mind, with a great scheme offensively. I thought he was the most attractive candidate out of the more than 80 applicants we had.”
The board deliberated for about 30 minutes before officially announcing Bishop’s hire.
Bishop, who will turn 34 years old on Sept. 27, most recently spent several seasons as the offensive coordinator at Grapevine High School.
Thanks in part to Bishop's brilliance, the Mustangs scored 1,147 points combined the past two seasons and Grapevine put together a record of 19-5 during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
This past season, the Mustangs advanced to the Conference 5A Division I area round before Aledo eliminated them 45-30.
Bishop has rapidly ascended through the coaching ranks — which included stops as a position coach at Normangee and Mesquite Poteet before becoming offensive coordinator at Plano East — and now the undisputed leader at Westwood.
“We will run a fast-tempo spread offense (at Westwood),” Bishop said in a post-meeting interview with the Herald-Press. “We want to be able to stretch the field vertically, and horizontally. We want to put athletes in space and create one-on-one match-ups.”
With Bishop as head coach, the Panthers should expect to take advantage of their speed on the recently installed artificial turf.
Bishop said he will be the offensive play-caller, and that he will hire a coordinator to run the Panther defense.
There's seemingly nowhere to go but up for Westwood, which finished 1-9 and was outscored 399-142 in 10 games in 2017.
Another reason why Bishop is the man for the job at Westwood is that he's used to rebuilding programs.
Bishop said Poteet's run in the 2012 playoffs serves as his biggest coaching memory as the Pirates went 11-3 and advanced to the 4A-Division II quarterfinals before falling to Lancaster.
Bishop said the rest of the Westwood athletic department will be in an evaluation period, and that includes personnel and what to do with the Panthers' fledgling boys' and girls' soccer programs.
“I'm excited about this opportunity, and I think this district will give me all the tools to be successful,” Bishop said.
It's expected Hayes will administer Westwood's track meet on March 29, and the District 18-3A meet the following week April 3-4.
In his young career, Bishop has coached current NFL pro prospect and Poteet star Malik Jefferson (a former linebacker at the University of Texas) and ex-Grapevine quarterback Alan Bowman — who enrolled at Texas Tech University this spring.
Bishop, like Westwood head boys' basketball coach Jake Russ, is a native of Franklin. Richard played his senior season at Normangee, where he was an all-district quarterback. Those Panthers reached the playoffs his senior year.
He also played several other sports, including baseball, basketball, golf and tennis.
Even though Bishop had been in the bright lights of Metroplex football, he said it was time to return to his roots.
“It's a smaller community, and a little more of what I'm used to,” Bishop said. “I wanted to get embedded in a smaller community and impact kids.”
After graduating from Normangee, Bishop attended Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in economics.
At Grapevine, Bishop served as a special education teacher and in-school suspension supervisor.
Bishop is married to wife, Ashleigh, who also is in the education sector as an aquatic science teacher at Flower Mound's Marcus High School. It's expected Ashleigh will become a teacher for Westwood ISD this fall.
The Bishops have two children, six-year-old son Whitley and three-year-old daughter Leighton.
Bishop's start date in the Westwood school district was Tuesday.