ENID — When Jim Coleman was hired as an assistant football coach at Watonga for the 1980 season, he was told “by the way, you’re coaching track.’’
At that time, the Eagles never had an individual boys state track champion and didn’t even have a cross country team.
When Coleman left the school 31 years later, the Eagles had 19 boys and girls state track championships and six cross country titles. Not to mention Coleman being the defensive coordinator for two state championship and two state runner-up teams.
Coleman, now an assistant football and cross country coach at Chisholm, will be inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in ceremonies Sunday in Tulsa.
“I don’t know what to say about that,’’ said Coleman while he watched some CHS athletes in off-season weight training Thursday. “It’s definitely an honor. There’s some pretty special people in that group. I’m humbled to be a part of it.’’
Coleman started cross country at Watonga in 1983 to try to develop some long-distance runners for track. He continued to coach football, holding practices in the evenings.
His weekends would be all work — a football game Friday night, a cross country meet Saturday morning and breaking down film the rest of the time until Monday morning.
“If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not that hard,’’ Coleman said. “I just tried to convince kids to work hard and set goals ... that if you worked hard enough, good things will happen.’’
Hard work built the foundation for Coleman’s state championships.
He convinced his football players to work hard in the spring in track so it would help them in football.
“They really go together,’’ Coleman said. “Everything you need in football, like speed and agility, is what you need in track. That was the kind of kid we had at Watonga, so we had to live up to that tradition.’’