Glen Rose ISD officials wasted no time in starting their search for a new varsity boys basketball head coach.

Superintendent Wayne Rotan learned that Matt Garnett notified him late Friday afternoon that he will not be taking the job after all. Even before the start of the graduation ceremony that night, which Rotan and other school officials were preparing for, calls were made to some of the others who had been on the school’s “short list” of candidates when the position opened up around spring break in March.

“The reason was, he wanted to stay close to Fort Worth,” Rotan said of Garnett, who is the lead director of MGBasketball Instruction in Aledo.

Rotan said that Garnett had signed a contract on April 1 to be the Tigers’ varsity basketball coach. Owen Clifton stepped down as the boys basketball coach just before spring break. Clifton will continue with his other GRHS duties, including classroom teaching as well as coaching the girls and boys golf teams.

Garnett, 37, was a 2001 GRHS graduate and a two-time all-state basketball player for the Tigers. He went on to become an All-America basketball performer for Wayland Baptist University, and later had successful head men’s basketball coaching stints at McMurry University, Wayland Baptist and Texas Wesleyan.

Garnett responded to an email from the Glen Rose Reporter about his decision with the following message last Saturday:

“This was a decision we made for our family,” Garnett wrote. “Throughout my coaching career, my priority has always been to create as much stability for my daughters as possible. My wife was recently offered a job in this area, allowing our daughters the opportunity stay stay near their friends, activities and church.

“While this was a very difficult decision, we believe it was the right one for our family. I have spoken to several of the players today. I am very sorry I won’t have the opportunity to coach these young men. They are a special group, and I’m confident they are going to do big things next year.”

Despite the contract having been signed by someone who had appeared to be an ideal coaching choice for the Tigers, Rotan emphasized on Tuesday that school officials are moving on to find a coach who wants to be in Glen Rose.

“We’re going to keep moving forward,” Rotan said. “There are a lot of great candidates that want to coach in Glen Rose and be a part of our system. No doubt, we’ll find one to get (the team) to the next level.

”We want somebody who wants to be here, that’s committed and will serve our students, serve our district. We have a lot of great applicants. We’re going to move as quickly as possible. We’re also going to make sure we find the best candidate for our program.”

But, Rotan added, “It’s not something we’re going to rush.”

Rotan also said that at least one new candidate — who had not applied for the job previously — had already contacted him about it.

There is plenty of interest, he indicated, and school officials had already reached out to four or five top candidates by early this week.

“I don’t think there is a better place to live and raise your kids,” Rotan said of Glen Rose.