Lake Highlands High School head football coach Lonnie Jordan has been named a finalist for the 2020 Landry Coach of the Year award. The nominees will be featured on CBS 11 at 11 p.m. tonight/Saturday, and the winner will be announced during a virtual ceremony broadcast Jan. 30, again at 11 p.m. on CBS 11.
The award is named for football legend Tom Landry, who played the game in high school, college and the pros. Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 seasons and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Finalists include Bob Wager of Arlington Martin, Bill Elliott of Celina, Dave Henigan of Denton Ryan, Kirk Martin of Colleyville Heritage and Carlos Lynn of Cedar Hill.
The Landry Coach of the Year, selected by Greater Dallas Fort Worth Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) leadership and the Landry Award voting panel, is presented to the high school coach in North Texas who exemplifies the Christian values that defined Tom Landry on and off the field. Landry believed his job as a coach was to shape young people into the leaders of tomorrow, and he worked to teach life skills along with the Xs and Os of football.
“This is an incredible honor,” said Jordan. “I grew up in the ‘70s idolizing Tom Landry and Roger Staubach and all those guys. I remember [Coach Landry] being active in FCA – it was a big part of what he did outside the Cowboys. He spent time giving back to kids and trying to help people.”
“As a high school coach, that’s a bigger part of our job than football,” continued Jordan, “trying to save kids and put them on the right track and teaching them to overcome things so they’ll have tools in their toolbox by the time they’re adults. More than anything else, we want to give them tools to make good decisions, to stay focused on the things that are important, so they don’t get wrapped up in the failures and setbacks that constantly come along. Maybe we teach them a little grit so they can delay gratification and see that hard work will pay off. That’s hard for anybody, but it’s really hard for young people. They want it now. They need to learn to focus on the long term.”
Previous winners include Riley Dodge of Southlake Carroll, Mike DeWitt of Coppell, Brian Brazil of Hebron and Randy Allen of Highland Park.
“This is incredibly humbling. Just look at the names on that list. They are phenomenal coaches with state championships under their belts,” said Jordan. “It really reflects on our program and our assistant coaches and the love they pour into our kids and the sacrifices they make.”
Five football players were also announced as finalists for the Landry Award, which honors top high school athletes who demonstrate positive character and leadership attributes. They are QB Ralph Rucker of Lucas Lovejoy, QB Quinn Ewers of Southlake Carroll, WR JoJo Earle of Aledo, QB Eli Stowers of Denton Guyer and QB Kaidon Salter of Cedar Hill.
Congratulations, Coach Jordan.