We are focused on the men and women who coach our athletes in the Big Country. Over in Tuscola, Matt Fanning came to Jim Ned as an assistant in 2017 and became the head football coach in 2018.

The wins came to Jim Ned not long after his arrival.

People know him in the Big Country for several things, playing football at Hardin-Simmons, taking over a thriving Jim Ned Program or leading the Indians to their first state championship two years ago. Matt Fanning has already made a name for himself at Tuscola in just 6 years.

Matt Fanning said, “I love it, I love the community. They’ve done a lot for my family and I. The kids are amazing, it’s a blue collar, hard-working mentality that our kids have. We’ve got a little edge sometimes. If something happens in the community, we all come together. We help each other set differences aside. It’s been a special deal and it’s helped me in a lot of different ways and helped me grow.”

His career path could’ve gone two ways. Luckily he chose this one.

Fanning added, “Ya know, honestly it’s a passion for me. I felt like it was a calling for me. It was one of those deals where I had two options coming out of high school, either I was gonna go play football or go into the military. My coaches pulled me into the office and said, ‘Hey, you can do this for a living.’ For me, it’s been the connection with coaches and athletes and relationships that I get to build that it’s definitely a special job.

Fanning has now lead the Indians to their third straight district championship and 7th overall as a program. This year is even more special after starting the season 0-3 and finishing out the district undefeated and riding an eight-game win streak heading into the second round of the playoffs.

Fanning said, “I mean it’s something we all dream about and be able to accomplish. You check that one off the list but it doesn’t make you any less hungry. You wanna be successful at whatever you do, it’s nice to get there but you wanna get back.”

This year’s senior class is the first he coached from junior high through high school, and they think a lot about Coach Fanning.

Troy Doran said, ” He’s a great coach, I couldn’t ask for a better coach. He probably puts us through some stuff we don’t wanna do, but at the end of the day it pushes us and makes us who we are.”

Tanne Hussman said, “Coach Fanning is a great guy, he truly is a great role model for a lot of us out here and father figure. He truly wants the best for us.”