Cornelius comes to Merkel after five seasons at the helm at Tahoka. During his time as head coach of the Bulldogs, Cornelius led Tahoka to a 22-31 record. The Bulldogs also made two appearances in the playoffs in 2010 and 2012. Tahoka defeated Sunray in 2012 before being knocked out by eventual state champs Stamford in the area round.
Prior to coaching at Tahoka, Cornelius was an assistant coach at Merkel between 2005-09.
"He's a man of integrity, and he will be able to instill that in the kids both in the classroom and in athletics," said Merkel superintendent Bill Hood.
Cornelius takes over for his former boss, Keith Mullins, who left Merkel to become an assistant coach at Mary-Hardin Baylor. He also inherits a Badgers squad that last year went 1-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The Merkel school board will vote on Cornelius' contract next Wednesday.