John Elder is entering his ninth season as the leader of the football team and athletic program in Coleman, and it’s been a good run.

His players say he’s, “The funniest man alive, “He’s a God,” and “He’s a top G.”

Nine years at a program the size of Coleman’s is a little unusual. A lot of coaches are looking to go to a bigger school. That’s not Elder’s style. He is perfectly happy in Coleman.

Elder said, “This feels like our new home. We feel like we belong here. The kids love the school here. All of our kids are in school here. They’ve got friends. We’ve got friends in this town that are going to last forever. There’s no reason to leave that.”

Elder’s nine years as the head coach is unheard of in Coleman. No other coach in the 112 years of Bluecat football has stayed more than seven seasons. Small senior classes or a lack of talent in some groups makes coaches leave. Elder lived through that from 2017-2019, and the Bluecats won just nine games. Before and after those three seasons, he led Coleman to 48 wins and five playoff appearances.

Elder said, “Small town football has it’s ups and downs. It’s a rollercoaster ride. Being from a small town, I understand the situations. Each team has their own identity, and every player that’s ever come here under us, me and the program coaches, have been loved the same as any of them.”

The winning part of coaching is great, and it’s part of the job. However, coaches can make a name for themselves in other ways. They are a part of the student-athletes’ lives every day, and Elder is making a difference.

David Navarro said, “My sophomore year, I went pretty downhill. I had a little oopsie in my life. He helped me through that, and he definitely built me and molded me into the man that I am today, and he’s still doing that.”

Elder said, “I want to make a difference in kids lives and be able to enjoy watching kids grow up and succeed in front of your face. It’s just a joy to coach in this town. I just love being here.”

Coleman head football coach John Elder is the Abilene Teacher’s Federal Credit Union Coach of the Week.