Montezuma-Cortez High School has made some changes for the upcoming school year.
New coaches have been hired and M-CHS recently named Jimmie Lankford as the new athletic/activities director and assistant principal.
Lankford, 46, comes to Cortez from McKinney, Texas, where he coached girls soccer at two high schools in McKinney. Lankford leaves McKinney as one of the best girls soccer coaches ever in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Most recently at McKinney Boyd High School, Lankford coached the 5A Lady Broncos to its second state championship to finish the 2010 season 28-1-1 and ranked No. 2 in the country by ESPN RISE. In 2008, Lankford and the Lady Broncos won the 4A state title. Before moving over to MBHS, Lankford led the McKinney North High School girls soccer team to the 2006 4A state championship and finished the year a perfect 29-0.
Lankford also was a teacher and assistant athletic director at McKinney Boyd. He was looking to take the next step in his career as a head athletic director and an assistant principal.
Lankford states other reasons for his move to Cortez:
What about this job appealed to you?
Its kind of a return home. I grew up in Pagosa Springs. I looked the last few years of maybe getting back into Colorado. I have a lot of family in Denver, Fort Collins, all over the area. It was an opportunity to kind of return to my home roots.
What about this school appealed to you?
I like the size. Ive been in a pretty big school, pretty big district. To move into the next phase of my career being an athletic director and assistant principal, really appealed to me coming here. Theres a lot of things I can really work on and I think I can effect really quickly.
Which sports in particular are you looking to get improved pretty quick?
Id like to see football improve pretty quick. We hired a new coach, Casey (Coulter). I was a part of that process. I think with most communities, the face of the community a lot of times is the football program. Theres a lot of positive things that go in the community when a football team is doing good. The community gets on board and it just builds a sense of community between the school and the town. I think thats important.
How do you see the football program improving?
To me its not necessarily about winning and losing, its about kids going out and competing. Its about kids knowing they look like theyve been well coached, and having fun. If you do all those things, then the winning creates itself.
With Coulter being your first hire here, what was it about him that might have stood out over some of the other candidates?
I really liked his attitude. I really like the fire that he has for kids. Im always going to be about kids. I like to see kids do well and work hard. I think his whole philosophy of getting kids to buy in and work hard, is really my philosophy. It was a real good fit for me when we interviewed him. Some of his past history kind of bares that out, that hes had some success. To me, that was real important of getting in a young coach with a lot of energy with a young staff.
What made you decide to go into coaching?
I actually worked for the (U.S. Department of) Defense industry in general dynamics building F-16 Fighters (jets) for five years as a machinist. With the downsizing in the defense industry, I decided its really not what I want to do. When I went back to school, I just kind of fell into coaching and realized, thats where Im supposed to be.
What would you like to see with all the students youll oversee in getting a quality education here?
Id like to see an increase in participation in extracurriculars, whatever activity it is. There a direction correlation in being involved in school and doing well in school. Id like to see more kids involved. Thats my biggest push, is to get kids involved in this community within the school. I think if you do that, education becomes more important to them because they see a value to it. I think that value builds on itself and its just a snowball affect.
Have you had a chance to meet all the coaches yet?
Not yet. Im slowly starting to meet them. Its been kind of a whirlwind the last five weeks trying to get moved here and close everything down in Texas.
Are all the fall sports schedules set?
Yeah theyre pretty set. Right now Im in the process of going through those. Justin (OConnor) has done a good job of getting those all together. Its just a matter of me going through them and getting them to those coaches, and well get those published pretty quick.
Last year there were a lot of scheduling changes with M-CHS sports throughout the athletics season. Here is what Lankford had to say regarding the issue.
Im in the process of doing a Facebook page where we can do instant updates. I can do an update real quick, Hey the game has been changed from 6 to 7:30 or its been changed from the 21st to the 23rd. Its just a little easier way for the community and an easy way for me to get information out.
What will be the page be called?
The M-CHS Activities Page.
Did you play sports growing up?
Ive been in athletics all my life. Thats really probably the reason I got through high school. Its probably the reason I got through college. It really was my driving force.
Do you have any favorite sports teams at the pro or college level?
I followed pro sports a lot. I just kind of got away from it. To me, athletics is about team and its about the relationships with the teams. I think pro sports have really gotten away from that. Ive followed the (Dallas) Mavericks for a lot of years. To me, they exemplify what I feel about sports to where they play for each other. Theres so many teams in pro sports thats about me. Theres a couple teams out there I like to watch. The Mavericks is one of them. I like watching the (Colorado) Avalanche play. The (Colorado) Rockies I follow, and Im hoping the (Denver) Broncos bring back that team attitude.
Lankford has a bachelors degree in exercise science from Texas Womens University, where he was an assistant volleyball coach for four years. Lankford is married (Patty), and they have five children, three boys, Aaron, Taran and Daniel; and, two girls, Jamie and Madison.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com