Abilene ISD hires Jim Garfield as next athletic director
Jim Garfield has a pretty good idea of what he’s getting into as Abilene ISD’s new athletic director. Garfield has been the associate athletic director at Lubbock ISD since 2017 and also coached against Abilene football teams when he was the head coach at Wichita Falls Rider for four years.
So Garfield, 58, knows what an athletic program Abilene ISD has.
“I love Abilene,” Garfield said. “We played against Abilene for years when I was with Rider and now with Lubbock. I have always enjoyed the commitment of the children and the work of the coaches. i love the area It brings us closer to family and I get to work with great people.”
Garfield was officially hired Monday night after a unanimous vote by the AISD school board. He replaces Phil Blue, who announced on January 26 that he will be retiring after this school year. Blue, a former assistant coach at Abilene High, has served as AISD’s athletic director since 2015.
“You have a good product here,” Garfield said after the vote. “Things I want you to understand, okay? We’ll take care of the kids. We’re supposed to take care of the kids academically and athletically, okay? We’ll take them places they’ve never been before. We will teach them leadership skills… they will need to become great citizens. And last but not least, we play for district and state championships. And we will all do this together.”
Garfield, a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University, has 35 years of coaching experience. He was head football coach at Elgin, near Austin, for three years (2014-16) before taking the ISD job at Lubbock. He was with Rider from 2010 to 2012, where he. He was also the head football coach at Corpus Christi Flour Bluff for a year (2001). He was a head football coach 53-43 in eight years.
Garfield was twice the Red River Coach of the Year while at Rider, and he also won a state soccer title as an assistant coach at Rider. He was also an offense coach at ENMU and defensive coordinator at Midwestern State.
While at Lubbock ISD, he oversaw all boys’ athletic programs with a focus on football, tennis, golf, soccer and wrestling, while also handling several other administrative duties.
“What you will see about me is that I have my feet on the ground,” said Garfield, who was accompanied by his wife Rebecca. “I’ll be visible, and I’ll watch all our coaches and see how well they’re doing. I’m excited. We’re playing for the district championships.”
Abilene High School football coach and boys’ campus coordinator Mike Fullen was part of the selection committee.
“I love him,” Fullen said of Garfield. “I think he’s going to be great for our school district and our athletic programs.”
Fullen said Garfield comes from a school district that deals with many of the same issues as AISD and knows the AISD athletic program well.
“He’s sort of living the same things that we’re living here right now and going through the same things as we are within their ISD,” Fullen said. “I think he brings a lot of experience and leadership and he definitely has a track record in all sports, both boys and girls doing well. I look forward to some of the ideas he will bring to our school district.”
Aaron Roan, Cooper’s soccer coach and boys’ campus coordinator, echoed many of the same sentiments as Fullen.
“I’m delighted to have Coach on board and I think he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership to our school district in a variety of different areas,” Roan said. “I look forward to working with him.”
Joey D. Richards covers Abilene high schools and colleges, big country schools and other local sports. Follow him on Twitter at ARN_Joey. If you value local news, you can support local journalists with a ReporterNews.com digital subscription.