By BRAD KEITH
(January 9, 2017) — Stephenville football coach Greg Winder is a semifinalist for The Frist Down Club of Dallas-Fort Worth Coach of the Year Award, the organization announced this week.
The 1st Down Club is holding its annual awards banquet at 7 p.m. Monday, January 18, at Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing
Written notification sent to Winder by the 1st Down Club did not indicate who the remaining semifinalists for the honor.
In his third season as head coach, Winder led the Yellow Jackets to an eight-win improvement from 2016 to 2017, taking them from just four wins all the way to the final four.
Head coach Joe Gillespie left following a fifth consecutive state quarterfinal appearance in 2014, a stretch that includes the school’s fifth state championship in 2012. Stephenville also lost five-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham to Baylor following the 2014 season, and running back Kaegun Williams moved to Cedar Hill, where he was named a three-star prospect and eventually signed with San Diego State.
Those and other losses were tough to overcome, and Stephenville won just seven total games in 2015 and 2016. Entering the final year of a three-year contract, Winder shook things up, naming Cody Moore defensive coordinator and breaking ties with Performance Course trainers so the Yellow Jacket coaches – led by Moore – could oversee summer conditioning, using that time to continue bonding with the athletes.
The result was an outright district championship for the first time in three seasons, followed by four playoff wins for the first time in four years.
Before his promotion to head coach in 2015, Winder was offensive coordinator 10 seasons at Stephenville. In a 70-35 state final victory over El Campo in 2012 the Yellow Jackets broke the record for points scored in a Texas 11-man championship game. His offense also had a 700-yard game that season, when Tyler Jones set a Stephenville single-game record with eight TD passes.
Winder was offensive coordinator under Mike Copeland from 2000-2002 and was offensive coordinator at McKinney before returning to that role at Stephenville when Gillespie was named head coach in 2008.