Throughout the Stephenville Yellow Jackets’ brilliant 2017 football season, head coach Greg Winder chose to give a large portion of the credit to his players and coaching staff.
Winder followed suit when he was asked about being named as a semifinalist for a prestigious coaching award.
Winder learned last week that he is one of six semifinalists for the title of Coach of the Year to be awarded by the 1st Down Club of Dallas-Fort Worth.
“It’s a great honor for me and my coaching staff, and of course our young men,” Winder said Monday.
Winder indicated that he was surprised when he was notified last week during the holiday break that he was among the elite group of coaches up for the award. It also includes two coaches from Class 5A schools — Chris Melson of Mansfield Legacy and John Abendschan of Saginaw Boswell — along with Kenny Davidson of Class 4A, Div. II Graham, and two from Class 3A, Div. I — Jeff Miller of Rockdale and Chris Jensen of Trinity.
“I don’t ever think about stuff like that,” said Winder, who has led the Jackets to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as their head coach.
Winder and the other coaches are invited to the awards banquet set for Jan. 18 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts, when the winner of the 1st Down Club’s Coach of the Year honor will be announced.
“It would be a great honor, and a tribute to the hard work of the coaching staff and the players,” Winder said.
The 2017 Jackets jumped to a 4-0 start, beating two Class 5A schools — Cleburne and Everman — along the way. They then rebounded from losses to Graham and 5A Monterey to win eight games in a row. That included capturing the District 8-4A, Div. I championship with a 4-0 mark. They knocked off Sanger, Pampa, third-ranked and previously unbeaten Argyle and Wichita Falls Hirschi on their journey to the Class 4A, Div. I state semifinals.
Kennedale, which was ranked No. 7 in the state in the Associated Press state rankings, stopped the Jackets just one win short of reaching their sixth state championship game with a 54-28 victory over the Jackets.