Former Vidaila High head football coach Jeff Hancock has been named head football coach at Highland Community College in Highland, Ks.
Hancock coached at Highland 20 years ago as an offensive assistant under Marty Allen, coming from a graduate assistant position at Eastern Michigan University.
"The guy who was best man in me and Leigh's wedding was the athletic trainer then and is now the athletic director at Highland," Hancock. "When he saw there was going to be a change at head coach he called and asked if I would be interested."
Hancock was 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.
"At first I said I wasn't interested because I really wasn't sure if I wanted to leave this warm area and go back to the snow," Hancock said. "But the more me and Leigh talked about it the more we realized I love working with kids and this was a great opportunity."
Hancock was offensive coordinator at Jeff McMurry University for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. While he also was Offensive Coordinator/Recruiting coordinator at Siena Heights University and 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, 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 a 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.
Hancock earned his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Michigan University and his Master’s degree from Louisiana Tech inexercise science, while receiving his Louisiana teaching certification from Louisiana College.
He also served as a high school coach at Vidalia High School 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 helped turned around a Vidalia High football program that had hit near rock bottom.
Hancock's Vidalia teams went 5-25, winning three games last year, and being competitive in most. A coaching job offer from a close friend at McMurray University in Abilene swayed Hancock away from Vidalia.
"I loved these kids, they were great kids," Hancock said. "And one thing I learned at Vidalia in my first head coaching job is that you have to prioritize," he said. "Do the things you need to do right away, while other things can wait."
"I wasn't going to consider but one or two because I really liked it here."
Hancock's wife, Leigh, is a native of Vidalia.
"Part of the deal was she got a much better job offer," Hancock said.
Vidalia High principal Bernie Cooley, a former Viking football player, said Hancock did a great job at Vidalia.
"We certainly appreciate what Jeff did," Cooley said. "He picked this program way up. We were very competitive last year and we're on the verge of topping that hill. Vidalia is definitely a team on the rise."
Highland finished the 2019 season ranked No. 20 in the National Junior College Athletic Association, posting a 6-4 record.
Highland's four losses on the season came to teams that finished the year ranked in the Top 10. Highland finished the year going 1-3 in action with a double overtime win over Dodge City and a close loss in the season finale to a Top five team in Iowa Western.
The Scotties on the year offensively averaged 19.6 points per game on 311.8 total yards per game with the passing attack leading the charge as Highland threw for nearly 2,500 yards on the season (2,492 which is the 11th most in the Nation). Highland average 249.2 yards passing per game good for 12th in the Nation and had the fifth most completions in the Nation with 214; Scotties passing yard numbers led the KJCCC.
On defense the Scotties gave up 26 points per game on 356.6 total yards per game, while the passing defense ranked sixth in the Nation giving up only 135.1 yards per game and first in the KJCCC. Highland racked up 793 tackles on the season the 11th most in the NJCAA and averaged 79.3 per game which ranked eighth.
Hancock said he looks to recruit the Miss-Lou. He has already reached out to two former Vikings who plan on attending Highland.
"I have a lot of contacts in the state of Louisiana, and I know the type of athletes in the Miss-Lou," he said. "I will definitely be reaching out to that area."