Evan sits down with new Jim Ned coach Matt Fanning

Matt Fanning Jim Ned.jpg

In mid-June, the Jim Ned football team found out they'd need a new football coach when Jerod Womack took the athletic director job of Stephenville ISD.

A week later, Matt Fanning was promoted from offensive coordinator to head football coach of the Indians.

RELATED: Fanning takes over Jim Ned football program

KTXS sports reporter Evan Nemec sat down with Fanning to talk about the wild past few weeks, and how he's connected with the players.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

Evan: It's been a strange past couple week for you guys. What has this been like?

Matt: It hit us sudden. I think the coaches we have, and the kids we have, it really didn't slow us down much. We talked about when it happened, that regardless of who filled coach Womack's shoes, or how long it took to figure it out, that it was ultimately on our kids to do it the right way. They answered that call phenomenally.

Evan: What was the player's reaction when they found our you were to be the head guy?

Matt: The support I got from the community and the players was really humbling. There was a lot of support. Our kids were very excited. I've got a good relationship with them. I appreciate everything they did to get me into this position because they were very happy. It was a moving reaction from them. That was a humbling ordeal.

Evan: How much of an advantage is it that you have been here for a year and it's not a totally new transition for the kids?

Matt: It's a significant advantage. The familiarity between the kids and myself is a big thing, especially considering the number of coaches we've turned over in the past year. Not just with coach Womack, but also losing our defensive coordinator, and some other key coaches. They know we're not going to make wholesale chagnes in a program they've buillt. I've got a great connection, and relationship with the kids we have. That's always a plus.

Evan: Before here you wre at your alma mater Era for a pretty good chunk of time. What was it about the opportunity to come here that enticed you to move away?

Matt: Abilene has always been special to me, the Abilene area. Growing up my father was a cutting horse trainer. We spent three or four weeks out of the year at the Expo Center during the summer and winter circuits. I had some really good memories. I came to school here and played football at Hardin-Simmons. I met my wife at Hardin-Simmons. I strengthened my relationship with Christ at Hardin-Simmons. This area has been really good to me. I heard a ton of great things about Jim Ned, and it's turned out to be amazing for my family.

Evan: I've talked to several coaches who tell me, 'Watch out for Jim Ned because they've got some talent.' What are you expecting for this fall?

Matt: We had one of our better seasons in recent history this past season. We want to grow on that. We want to build on that. We want to make that an every year deal. We think we're the caliber of program that has the opportunity to make deep runs in the playoffs and compete for state championships in the future.

Evan: What's been your favorite part of your first year at Jim Ned?

Matt: Without a doubt it's the kids. I'm a relationship guy. I'm just a big junior high as it is anyway. I relate to the kids more than I do the parents sometimes. They are very hard-working. They're very high character kids. It's about just getting them where they need to do and moving in the right direction. They're a lot of fun to coach, let's put it that way.

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