(HIGHLAND, Kan.)— The Highland football program now has its 28th coach in school history as the school has named Jeff Hancock the new head coach.
Hancock jumps right into the fold at Highland to prepare the 2020 season for Highland football and continue to develop a program that has finished with a winning record four of the last six years and a Top 20 ranking in the final NJCAA polls three of the last four years.
He brings years of football experience at multiple levels including starting his coaching career at Highland back in the 90's.
"Highland is where I got my start with my first "full time" coaching position. I have many fond memories of my time there with the friendships I made and what I learned as a young coach from Coach's (Marty) Allen and (Greg) Delzeit. When this job opened I knew I had to apply," said Hancock about why he sought out the opportunity at Highland.
Hancock comes to Highland after serving as an offensive analyst for the 2019 season at Abilene Christian as the Wildcats posted a 5-7 record competing the Southland Conference. Prior to his time at Abilene Christian Hancock has held multiple coaching positions climbing the coaching ladder.
He brings an offensive mindset with him to Highland as he was Offensive Coordinator at McMurry University for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. While he also was an Offensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator at Siena Heights University an NAIA program helping start-up their football program working three years at the university. He also had coaching stints at Adrian College (Mich.), Grand Valley State University, the University of Saint Mary in Kansas and Lane College.
While at Adrian he worked as Offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and Special Teams coordinator. In 2008 he helped Adrian finish in the Top 20 in Division II in rushing offense with 231.1 yards per game while averaging 27.8 points per game. At Grand Valley State Hancock helped the team win the 2005 NCAA DII National Championship as he served as the tight end's coach. The Lakers offense amassed over 5,000 total yards that 2005 season. In his three years at USM in Leavenworth, Kansas he was Offensive Coordinator for the Spires and led them to a Top 10 offense in NAIA in 2002. He helped implement the spread offense and was co-Offensive coordinator at Lane College in 2001 an NCAA DII program. While he also served as an offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech University (FBS).
Hancock has experience at the Junior College level also coaching at New Mexico Military Institute and Highland. While at NMMI he coached a group that ran for 4,300 yards setting an NJCAA record and finished the year ranked #10 in the nation, winning the Empire Bowl. While at Highland he was an offensive assistant under Marty Allen for one season coming from a graduate assistant position at Eastern Michigan University.
He also served as a high school coach at Vidalia High School (LA) for three seasons as head coach, along with coaching offense and defense early in his coaching career at Willow Run High School and Romulus High School.
Hancock realizes this is a great opportunity in the football coaching world, "This opportunity means a tremendous amount to me, coming full circle from a young $5,000 assistant coach to the head coaching position is something I never would have imagined. Highland is a great place to recruit student-athletes to as they look to develop and further their education and athletic career. Head coaching positions are hard to come by at every level and to become a head coach in the Jayhawk Conference, where the talent and coaching are second to none, is an even greater opportunity."
Highland football is coming off a 6-4 season in which they finished ranked 20th in the NJCAA and Hancock understands the success the program has had recently and hopes to continue it.
"I have found that having success on the football field and in the classroom comes down to attention to detail. If a person cannot be trusted to do the little things then they will not be asked to do the big things. Therefore, we will focus on the details of everything we do," said Hancock.
He enters the job eagerly and with plenty of focus on the future of Highland football, "first and foremost, relationships and continuing to build on the foundation that has been set by the previous staff will be a focus. And as with all Junior College programs, developing young men academically and athletically to be afforded opportunities to continue on at four-year institutions. As a coach, my primary responsibility is to help mold young men to become better husbands, fathers, pillars of the community and leaders."
Hancock earned his Bachelor's degree in psychology from Eastern Michigan University and his Master's degree from Louisiana Tech in exercise science while receiving his Louisiana teaching certification from Louisiana College.
Coach Hancock says you can expect the following of him as he guides Highland football in the new decade. "A detailed, organized and disciplined individual who has an unbelievable staff that will push the young men we are charged with coaching to reach goals they may not think they can achieve on their own."