McKinney High's Alan Pocock has been coaching the Lions soccer team since 1991 and in his 20th year at MHS, his team experienced one of its best seasons in school history. Now, nearly two months after the Lions completed an undefeated regular season followed by their seventh consecutive playoff appearance, Pocock has received the highest coaching honor in McKinney as he was selected as the MISD High School Coach of the Year.
"To be honest, I was speechless and taken totally by surprise, but honored and humbled to be chosen for the honor," he said. "I'm so grateful for all that I've been fortunate to be a part of this special year with such a successful group of Lions soccer players."
Pocock received a plaque from MISD athletic director Shawn Pratt and new assistant director Valerie Little.
"These two coaches go above and beyond for kids every day. Both are excellent coaches and teachers. They both are great examples for our student athletes, modeling great work ethic, passion, and dedication to the education profession," Pratt said.
Before coming to McKinney, Pocock was named a Chicago "All Area" High School Player at Wheaton Academy in 1995. He went on to play soccer at Baylor University from 1989-1990. Soon after graduating from Baylor in 1991, Pocock applied for a coaching job at MHS and was hired by then Lions head football coach Ron Poe.
The rest, as they say, is history.
"It's been unforgettable," Pocock said of his coaching career in MISD. "I hope somewhere coach Poe is smiling and happy that he hired that fresh faced rookie coach right out of Baylor University 20 years ago."
Over the course of 20 years, Pocock has coached some great soccer teams and as he looked back on this past season, he couldn't help be rank this group of seniors among the best he's ever coached.
"I'll never forget these guys," he said.
Pocock said he was 'gutted' after the Lions undefeated season ended in a Region II Quarterfinal against Lovejoy. After 20 straight wins, MHS looked like a team ready to contend for a state championship but the dream came to an end at Plano Clark Stadium in April. Even with a disappointing end, the 2011 season was filled with great memories for the Lions, including winning a home playoff game against Richardson Pearce and beating Highland Park.
"I looked at our season banner we just put up with the others in our locker room and realized that these seniors pulled off a seventh consecutive playoff trip and their third 20 win or better season," Pocock said. "In four years, our record was 73-11-12. It just amazes me."
Currently, the MHS coaches offices are under construction for the summer so Pocock said his new plaque will rest safely on the mantle in his home until August.
"Then up proudly on display in our soccer office next to Alex's MISD coach of the year award he earned in 2005."
In addition to naming the MISD High School Coach of the Year, the district also gave out the Middle School Coach of the Year Award with the honor going to Faubion Boys Track coach Stewart Apgar.
"It feels great to be acknowledged for an award like this," said the Lions 7th and 8th grade coach. "There are a lot of great coaches at the middle school level so I feel honored to have the award."
The Faubion boys track team has a very successful year in 2011 but its biggest feat, according to Apgar, was winning the district track meet and taking home the district championship.
Like Pocock, Apgar was also given a coach of the year plaque and he said his will sit on the mantle of his fireplace.
Previous coaches who were selected as Coach of the Year were:
HS Karin Klemm
HS Jon Stein - MS Darla Sessom
HS Bruce Blackman - MS David McWhirter
HS Alex Pantarotto - MS Crissy McGraw, Jeff Schroeder
HS Jimmie Lankford - MS Kristen Lazaroff
HS Shawn Pratt - MS Glenna Duncan
HS Jimmie Lankford - MS Brandi Martin
HS Jeremy Greenway - MS Josh Glory
HS Brandon Milam - MS Karen Love
HS Alan Pocock - MS Stewart Apgar
(Pictured, from left) Coach Alan Pocock, Shawn Pratt, A.D., Valerie Little, Asst. A.D., Stewart Apgar
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com