Carroll’s new Dodge works if he’s not expected to be the old Dodge

Before Carroll schools as their new football coach April 2, there was a puppet show.

Not kidding.

To start the school board meeting, some Southlake kids , including were a few puppets that occupied the spots where trustees usually sit in the quaint auditorium. Adorable, and delightful symbolism and unintentional humor aside, the main attraction was the return of Riley Dodge to Carroll football.

The good news from the evening session is that Riley didn’t throw up.


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Ever since Southlake Carroll took home its first state title in 1988, they‘ve remained a dominant football powerhouse. Relive the state championships, the national championships and the best players who launched their college and pro careers as Dr Lena Blietzlblietz-telegram

The former Carroll Dragons quarterback and , provided he is given some space, leadership straightens itself out, and the expectations are set for Riley Dodge rather than Todd Dodge.

“It was you,” board President Sheri Mills said, “not your last name.”

If his last name was “McDorkenshire,” he is not the head coach at Southlake Carroll.

Who cares how he got the job? Riley is a great, bold choice, even if he was not the first one.

Todd Dodge was lined up to return to Carroll a the football coach and athletic director, per sources, but a series of events led him to back out. Those did not include letting his son have the job.

Todd Dodge had some concerns with district leaders, so he simply passed. As the current head coach at Austin Westlake, Todd Dodge does not need Carroll.

Riley, the offensive coordinator at Justin Northwest who has no head-coaching experience, threw his name in late.

“I just wanted to get in the room,” he said.

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Almost immediately, big hitters in the profession reached out to district administrators on his behalf. Men like Houston coach Major Applewhite, former Texas Longhorns coaches Mack Brown and Charlie Strong, and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett did so too. although, I’m not sure how much his weight his voice carries at the moment.

After some impressive interviews, Riley D landed what was once considered a jewel job in our football drunk state but now has some “Buyer Beware” concerns.

Even though Riley Dodge is not yet 30, few candidates would be as aware of Carroll Southlake as this man.

Riley has been groomed for this type of job seemingly since he was a zygote. He’s been around the game since birth, and the addition of veteran coach Steve Lineweaver to come out of retirement and join the Carroll staff should make this jump easier.

But some good people in Southlake need to get real about their community and their beloved team. Preferably this happens yesterday.

The job Riley Dodge accepted is not the same position that former Dragons’ coach Bob Ledbetter turned into a national brand. The job is not the one Riley’s dad took in 2000 and coached until 2006. Neither is the town, or the surrounding area.

All Riley D has to do is drive around Southlake for about 45 minutes to see how much the world has changed since he led Carroll to a state title in 2006 … .

No longer is Southlake the ‘burb to be for the wealthy people of DFW who prefer to live away from Dallas and Fort Worth. Flower Mound, Northwest, Westlake, Argyle, Roanoke are all thriving and growing communities with high school football teams of their own.

Carroll no longer has a monopoly on talent in this area. There are other good places up here to play and live.

And. The same can be said of the removal of CISD athletic director Darren Allman to a different position.

Those types of events should serve as red flags for Riley Dodge.

“It’s a new beginning for us,” CISD trustee Read Ballew said during the meeting, “not just football.”

Yes – read between the lines.

Despite the changes in the area, we are still talking about the lone high school in a healthy district that is flush with resources (that’s the PC term for “money”).

Todd Dodge could have come back to Carroll and there is a better than 100 percent chance he was not going to be able to recreate the type of success he had from 2000 to 2006 when the Dragons seemingly won everything but the Super Bowl.

As long as Riley D is given some time to grow into this job, allowed to lose a few games, and permitted not to win the state title every other month, Carroll has the coach who can be here for a long time.

He knows the fan base. What he doesn’t know are his bosses just yet. And the people who influence those bosses. As evidenced by the fallout of Wasson, and now Allman, Carroll has issues in its athletic department.

Todd D was big enough he could tell overreaching parents and administrators to politely get lost. Riley D may not be so emboldened.

Nepotism clearly was a factor in bringing Riley D to Carroll, but that doesn’t mean this hire is a reach.

Straighten out the athletic department, leave the new Coach Dodge alone, and make sure the “puppeting” remains for the kids.