Steve Jones of Kimberly High School has been named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA)/Green Bay Packers Coach of the Year.
Jones recently completed his fifth season as the head coach of the Kimberly football program. The Papermakers finished the 2015 season with a perfect 14-0 record, capped off by a 49-42 come-from-behind victory over Arrowhead in the WIAA Division 1 State Championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison on Nov. 20.
The victory, a rematch of last season's State Championship game, marks the Papermakers' third straight State Championship, and its fifth State Championship in six State appearances.
"I'm proud of how our kids responded in an adverse situation [during the State Championship game], with being down 21 points late in the third quarter," said Jones. "For our kids to show the grit and determination to come back from a situation like that and win, I'm extremely proud to be a part of that.
"This award is a great representation of our entire football program, including the excellent coaching staff that I get to work with, and our outstanding players. It's truly an honor for our entire program."
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.
Jones and his staff oversee a program of 176 players, including a varsity roster of 100. 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, Mike Hardy 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 Jan. 3, and honored on Jan. 31 at the WFCA All-State banquet in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
This marks the 18th 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 186 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