Jarad Kimbro fulfilled a goal he had when he started coaching football nearly 20 years ago. The longtime Mattoon High school football assistant coach replaced retiring Troy Johnson, who went 49-71 and guided five teams into the postseason across 13 seasons. Kimbro served as an assistant football coach for 18 years, stretching back to Gerald Temples. He is now preparing for his first full season, which will take place in a renovated stadium with new turf.
COLES COUNTY SPORTS: What were you doing when you found out you were named MHS head football coach?
JARAD KIMBRO: When I found out I was going to be named head coach of MHS, I was actually sitting in my classroom and got called down to the office. It was definitely difficult keeping it a secret until the school board meeting.
CCS: How excited are you to play on turf at MHS this fall?
KIMBRO: I am extremely excited about the facility upgrades that the school district has made. The turf has definitely created a buzz around the community and the football program.
CCS: What are the off-season and summer workout plans for the team?
KIMBRO: Our off-season plan has not changed much. We have to get stronger as a team so that is our primary focus at this time. As the summer rolls around, we will focus on preparing for the upcoming season. During this time, strength and conditioning will be what we focus on. In the summer, we are limited on contact days so we will be trying to maximize every day that we have with the kids in the summer. There is no substitute for hard work so that’s what we are going to do.
CCS: Will there be any other coaching staff changes?
KIMBRO: As of right now, I do not have any coaching staff changes to report. The guys that I have on staff are great people that want to see our players be successful. We are doing everything in our power right now to make that happen.
CCS: Will you still call the offensive plays as head coach?
KIMBRO: Again, as of right now, I will still be calling the plays for the offense, Coach Jarod Kiger will be the defensive coordinator, and Coach Mike Carter will be in charge of the special teams.
CCS: What is your everyday message to the players?
KIMBRO: The main message that I am trying to get across to the players right now is “No Excuses.” We can make all kinds of excuses why we can’t do things but those will not get us anywhere. We are trying to move forward and the only way for that to happen is with everybody fully committed to each other and the football program.
CCS: This has been a goal of yours to be the head coach, what are your goals for your first season?
KIMBRO: My main goal for the upcoming season is to have continuous improvement week to week in all three phases of the game. We will also play disciplined and physical football. If we do these things the rest of it will work itself out.
CCS: What will you miss most about former coach Troy Johnson?
KIMBRO: That question is very hard for me to answer. First and foremost, he is a great friend. I know if I ever need anything I can call him and he will help me out. He has also been a great mentor. I applied for the job when he got it and I am very thankful for that. He has taught me a ton about how to be a better coach and person. Probably what I will miss most is how calm and positive he is when things are not necessarily going our way. He always seems to see the brighter side of things and that will be hard to replace.
CCS: What can Green Wave fans expect on the field this fall?
KIMBRO: Mattoon football fans can expect to see a football team that plays hard for four quarters and does not back down from any challenges. They can also expect a team that plays with class and does things the right way.
CCS: The 2022 football schedule is favorable with six games in Coles County. Your thoughts?
KIMBRO: Anytime we can eliminate trave,l I am going to be a happy man. 4 of the final 6 games at home can be a tremendous asset when you are fighting for the playoffs.
CCS: Let’s fast forward to August 26th, 2022 – what do you think will be going through your mind?
KIMBRO: What will be going through my mind week 1 against Triad? Have I done everything I can to prepare the boys to go out and battle for 4 quarters?