HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Crane’s Kirk Byrd resigns, search for new head football coach underway

Crane ISD is looking for a new head football coach.

Kirk Byrd resigned Friday as the Golden Cranes’ athletic director and football coach citing family reasons for the decision.

Byrd will head to Sweetwater to be a part of the Mustangs’ football staff as an assistant coach. He will also serve as the team’s strength and conditioning coordinator. 

“Crane is a great place and it always will be because the community and school want it to be,” Byrd said Tuesday. “It is a great place to work and a place I’ll always think that I was lucky to be a part of.”

Byrd finished with a 6-16 record after two seasons at the helm of the Golden Cranes’ program, leading Crane to a playoff appearance both years. This was Byrd’s first head coaching job after serving as the defensive coordinator at Muleshoe from 2008 to 2014 before heading to the Permian Basin.

Crane ISD Interim Superintendent Bill Boyd said he would like to have Byrd’s replacement start before the end of the school year, but also mentioned that he wants to go about the process the right way and find the right candidate.

Boyd also said that in no way was Byrd forced out — he left on his own terms.

Byrd will continue to preside over Crane’s athletic program until the new athletic director is hired.

“He’s a fine young man,” Boyd said about Byrd. “He has high expectations and we’re going to miss him. We’re moving forward as quickly as we can.”

Byrd will join the staff of new Sweetwater head coach Ben McGehee, who took over in February.

Last season, the Mustangs advanced to the Class 4A Division II state championship game despite not winning their district. Sweetwater fell in the title game to an undefeated West Orange-Stark.

Byrd still will make plenty of trips to the Permian Basin as Sweetwater shares a district with Monahans, Pecos and Fort Stockton among others.

The search for Byrd’s replacement is underway and Crane ISD has already received applications for the job.