Isler leaving Clovis to take over at McMurry

J.D. Isler has made a verbal commitment to McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where his son, Jaden Isler, is getting set for his senior season.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

After 10 seasons, Clovis High will be looking for a new boys basketball coach.

J.D. Isler has made a verbal commitment to McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, where his son, Jaden Isler, is getting set for his senior season.

He will replace Matt Garnett, who posted a 21-7 record and led the War Hawks to their eighth division title in 12 years and their first American Southwest Conference tournament title since 2001.

Garnett was named last week men’s coach at Wayland Baptist University, where he played for three years and graduated in 2005.

Following Garnett’s departure, Isler said he was contacted by McMurry athletic director Ron Holmes.

“I wasn’t really looking to leave,” said Isler, who posted a 209-70 mark in his 10 seasons at Clovis. “I looked at everything. It was a hard decision to leave good players and good people, but it’s a great chance to be a college coach and to coach Jaden again.”

Isler also said Bryce Hill is planning to transfer, reuniting a huge portion of the 2007-08 Clovis squad that went 29-2 and finished as the Class 5A runnerup.

Having another chance to coach his son was a factor, but Isler said taking the position had benefits beyond one season, including helping the program make the leap from Division III to Division II.

“I’m excited, obviously,” J.D. Isler said, “but I have to say the parents and players and people of Clovis have been so good to me. They’ve been very supportive.”

Assistant coach Scott Robinson said he would apply for the upcoming opening, and will fill in on an interim basis while the Wildcats do offseason camps and league play.

“I’ll be running things until the (head coach position) interview,” said Robinson, who deferred all other questions to Isler. “There’s not much going on this time of year anyway.”

Isler said many details are still being worked out. Clovis High Athletic Director Brian Stacy said Monday he had not received any formal resignation from Isler.

Isler took over the Wildcat program in 2001 after Terry Ferguson resigned to take a position in Texas. The 2008 runnerup finish was the team’s highest under Isler.

He was suspended, and fired, in December of 2009 based on allegations he recruited junior guard Lathan Lieb. He fought the NMAA ruling and was reinstated in February after a federal judge ruled the NMAA made its findings based on multiple levels of hearsay.

Isler has a lawsuit pending against the NMAA, but agreed to drop any legal action against Clovis Municipal Schools in exchange for letting him serve out his contract, which ran through last season. Robinson coached in his absence.

In Isler’s final season, the Wildcats went 26-3 and earned Class 5A’s second seed, but were upended by third-seeded Manzano in the Class 5A semifinals.