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04/11/23 – Two KHSAA Coaches Earn NFHS Section II Coach of the Year Honors

April 11, 2023 2022-2023 News Releases



Two KHSAA coaches earned 2021-22 Section II Coach of the Year honors from the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association. Conner boys’ cross country head coach Ian Johnstone and Ballard softball head coach Alan Jones became the KHSAA’s 37th and 38th NFHS Section II Coach of the Year selections since 2001-02.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through a comprehensive awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls’ sports and top 10 boys’ sports (by participation numbers) and in two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches from the 2021-22 school year.

The NFHS has a contact in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coaching award recipients. This person often works with the state coaches association in his or her respective state. This individual contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, as well as coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for Section and National Coach of the Year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.

The award level after State Coach of the Year is Section Coach of the Year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections: Section 1 – Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont), Section 2 – Mideast (Delaware; Kentucky; Maryland; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Virginia; West Virginia; Washington, D.C.), Section 3 – South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee); Section 4 – Central (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin), Section 5 – Midwest (Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota), Section 6 – Southwest (Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas), Section 7 – West (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah) and Section 8 – Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming).

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.



  • 2021-22: Ian Johnstone (Boys’ Cross Country), Alan Jones (Softball)
  • 2019-20: Donna Moir (Girls’ Basketball), Karen Henson (Girls’ Tennis), William Thomas (Girls’ Cross Country)
  • 2018-19: James Matney (Boys’ Wrestling), Derrick Griffitts (Girls’ Golf), Maureen Kaiser (Girls’ Volleyball), Kevin Lawson (Boys’ Golf)
  • 2017-18: Jonathan Thompson (Boys’ Tennis)
  • 2016-17: James Matney (Football)
  • 2013-14: Leslie Bender (Girls’ Golf), Dale Mueller (Football), Tony Harden (Girls’ Track & Field), Karen Feldhaus (Spirit)
  • 2012-13: Todd Bretz (Boys’ Soccer), Gary Canter (Boys’ Wrestling), Philip Haywood (Football), Donnie Head (Girls’ Tennis)
  • 2011-12: Larry Heflin (Girls’ Tennis), John Barnett (Girls’ Swimming & Diving), Stephen Collins (Boys’ Soccer), Tracy Edwards (Boys’ Tennis), Kevin Wallace (Football), Holly Whittinghill (Girls’ Volleyball)
  • 2010-11: Rick Davis (Girls’ Golf), David Meyers (Girls’ Track & Field), Kerry Stovall (Boys’ Basketball)
  • 2009-10: Mac Whitaker (Baseball), Rick Davis (Girls’ Golf), Robert Hardin (Girls’ Tennis), Kerry Lancaster (Boys’ Tennis), James Luebbe (Girls’ Swimming & Diving), Andy Schulten (Boys’ Soccer)
  • 2008-09: Tony Rowe (Boys’ Cross Country), Larry Heflin (Girls’ Tennis), Chris Moore (Girls’ Soccer), Kent Schulten (Boys’ Soccer)



About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 284 member schools, both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and six sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.


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