Steve Jones of Kimberly High School has been named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA)/Green Bay Packers Coach of the Year for a second straight year.
Jones' sixth season as the head coach of Kimberly High School ended with a fourth straight state championship. On Nov. 18, the Papermakers completed a perfect 14-0 season with a come-from-behind victory over Franklin High School to claim the WIAA Division 1 State Championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Kimberly currently holds the longest high school football winning streak in the nation with 56 straight victories.
"We started off the game a little slow, but our players definitely responded in the second half," Jones said. "I couldn't be more proud of how they played and how they continued to compete. We talk a lot in our program about responding the right way, and that was all that we kept talking about…At halftime, I thought our kids really rallied each other and did a good job of responding in the second half, and obviously that dictated the outcome.
"We've been able to work with some outstanding young men. You don't do this without unbelievable players. We're gifted with unbelievable players, but even better young men. I am proud that our kids not only have won, but have won the right way with class, dignity and respect."
A Stevens Point, Wis., native, Jones is a 1997 graduate of Stevens Point High School, where he played football under WFCA Hall of Fame coach Jerry Fitzgerald. After high school, Jones attended UW-Stevens Point, where he played wide receiver for WFCA Hall of Fame inductee John Meich.
Jones began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UW-Stevens Point in 2002, later taking a position as an assistant coach at Baraboo High School from 2003-05. Jones came to Kimberly in 2006, where he held an assistant position for five years before being promoted to head coach in 2011. He is also the high school leadership teacher at Kimberly.
"One thing you learn real quick is you can't do this alone," Jones said. "I am very blessed with an unbelievable coaching staff. I know that I'm biased, but I believe it's the best coaching staff in the state and they've been tremendous throughout this four-year run. I'm just so proud to be a part of it."
Jones and his staff oversee a program of 170 players, including a varsity roster of 97. His assistant coaching staff includes Dean Matsche, Pete Greeninger, Josh Heisler, Ryan Hinske, Mike Verstegen, Chris Biolo, Mike Chalupny, Jason Mangin, Aaron Hank, Matthew Hoh, Nic Peters, Jason Jochimsen, Ben Engelland, Jack Breese, Brad Hoerth, Ben Murphy, Ryan Bandt, Zak Kemp, Mike Weyer, Korey Hietpas and John Malin.
Jones and his wife, Carrie, have one son, Cooper.
In recognition of the honor, the Packers will award a $2,000 donation to the Kimberly football program. Jones will be presented with the award at the Packers home game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 24, and honored Jan. 29 at the WFCA All-State banquet in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
This marks the 19th year both the Green Bay Packers and WFCA have awarded the honor together. The WFCA has awarded a Coach of the Year since 1976, while the Packers have presented the same award since 1998, in addition to the Coach of the Week program that has honored 196 coaches and programs statewide since its inception.
More information regarding this award, the All-State team and the WFCA is available at **www.wifca.org**
Front Row (left to right):
Pete Greeninger, Jack Breese, Brad Hoerth, Jason Mangin, Jason Jochimsen, Zak Kemp
Back Row (left to right):
Josh Heisler, Aaron Hank, Chris Biolo, Steve Jones, Ben Murphy, Mike Weyer, Mike Chalupny
Dean Matsche, Mike Verstegen, Nic Peters, Ben Engelland, Ryan Bandt, Ryan Hinske, Matt Hoh, Korey Hieptas, John Malin