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Jenks Gazette

Jenks Becomes Football Capital Under Coach Trimble

Editor at Large

CELEBRATING VICTORY: Jenks Head Football Coach Allan Trimble, center, celebrated a playoff win with his players in 2008. Entering the 2016 season, Trimble and Jenks have accumulated 13 state championship gold balls and four runner-up silver balls.

Editor’s Note: This article by Terrell Lester appeared in the November 2013 Jenks District Gazette. Since the article was written, Coach Trimble has guided the Trojans to three more state football championships. The article gives an excellent history of the magnificent job Coach Trimble has performed for the Jenks School District.

Former Oklahoma first lady Shirley Bellmon is credited with initially proclaiming Jenks the “Antique Capital of Oklahoma.”

Any challenges to her declaration have been few and far between.

The bedroom-community-turned-bustling-suburb, separated from Tulsa by the width of the Arkansas River, is an antiquer’s paradise.

Shops and boutiques stocked with toys and furniture and what-nots from a bygone era define Main Street and lure visitors.

Yet there is another attraction, a phenomenon actually, one of more recent vintage, which has changed the overall image of what the local gentry lovingly refer to as “Jenks, America.”

Football now drives this city of 18,000.

Football now is this city’s reference point.

One hundred yards of turf inside Hunter-Dwelley Field have supplanted five blocks of asphalt and concrete on Main Street as the cultural center of Jenks.

Jenks now is the “High School Football Capital of Oklahoma.”

And at the forefront of this transition from vintage trinkets to gold footballs stands Allan Trimble.

For 17-plus years, he has been the proprietor of a football business that deals in championships and caters to a discerning clientele.

He took over a program in 1996 that had enjoyed a measure of success and instantly ratcheted it up to unprecedented heights.

Entering the 2013 season, Trimble and Jenks had accumulated 10 state championship gold balls and four runner-up silver balls.

Combined with the three championships from the pre-Trimble Era, Jenks could lay claim to the moniker “Title Town.”

There are as many trophies in the Jenks football showcase as there are antique shops downtown.

Under Trimble, Jenks has recorded a number of milestones, including a 39-game winning streak and a six state-championship streak.

Allan Trimble is the most recognizable name in town. His celebrity status is at rock-star levels.

He has his own coach’s television show.

But his recognition factor stretches beyond the state borders. He has a number of national coaching awards, from The Sporting News, for one, to go along with his team’s ever-present position in the USA Today high school rankings.

In 2001, Trimble published a book, “Coaching Football Successfully,” with a foreword written by Bob Stoops.

Two years later, Trimble and Jenks were on the big screen, with the release of the movie “King of the Mountain,” detailing their storied rivalry with Union High School.
Trimble has turned out more All-Staters and recruiting blue-chippers than he has had career losses.

This is pretty heady stuff for a God-fearing family man who was reduced to tears during an interview for the job in 1996.

He had been an assistant at Owasso (1987-89) and Jenks (1990-95) but was becoming a bit disillusioned with football early in 1996.

He had been turned down in his bid for the Owasso head-coaching job and he had taken a position in the oil industry in Wichita.

His football future was unclear.

“I was kind of bummed out,” Trimble said. “I really thought Owasso would be a great place. I still believe it would be a great place to teach and coach.”

Within weeks, Jenks dismissed head coach Ron Lancaster, two seasons after he had guided the Trojans to a state championship.

Following some soul-searching, Trimble decided to make another run at a football job. He delivered his resume to Jenks.

“I knew it would be a long shot,” he said. “It was a premier job in Oklahoma. I knew it would be a who’s who of applicants.

“The biggest fear for me, besides no experience (as a head coach) and the perceived pressure of needing to win, was just the volatility of the situation when Coach Lancaster got removed.

“There was turmoil. There were parents split over him leaving and not leaving. All kinds of things.

“I also knew that we had great kids, tremendous community support, tremendous school board. We had administrators that really thought athletics was important,” he said.

“It had all the components and all the makings of a tremendous job.

“It’s just that I was scared to death because I didn’t know if I could figure out how to do all that, to put all that together.”

Because Trimble had been on the Jenks staff since 1990, and, because, in his words, “I worked hard” and “I had done a good job in the classroom,” he landed an interview.

He passed the first round of questioning and was called back for a second interview, this time before a panel of some 15 individuals with varied backgrounds.

“It was a grilling,” he said. “I had studied up on the obvious (questions). You know, offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy.

“Then they asked me what my definition of a successful season would be.

“I told them that there is more to success than just winning games. I believe in mentoring kids. Success for one kid might be helping him out if he’s got a tough home life, or if he’s got challenges in his life.

“I was stressed out to the max,” he said. “I just got emotional. I mean, that’s just the guy I am. I’m an emotional guy.

“I almost started bawling. I probably did start bawling.

“I thought, ‘well, good try. They won’t have me back.’ But somehow I got called back” for a third and decisive round of interviews.

“They knew what they were getting, I guess, or they were willing to take a risk on it.
“I was scared to death. I still am.

“I still understand how important this responsibility is here, and how much I want it to be good.”

The football program that Trimble inherited 18 seasons ago is better than good. It has been dominating. It has become the program by which all others are measured.

How did it happen? Why did it happen? And why Allan Trimble?

“I don’t have any idea,” the modest, well-spoken 50-year-old coach said.

“I’ve always counted my blessings. I just think the good Lord wants me here. He wanted me here. He put me here. I think that there’s a purpose for me here.

“You know, I’m from Cleveland (Okla.), the humblest of oil-patch, great people, true-to-earth people. It’s very important for me to hire guys that are way smarter and way more talented than me; just empower them and turn them loose.

“It’s not me. It’s the coaches. It’s the administration. It’s the parents who, through thick and thin, have been able to see through their own child and put the team above their kid.

“It’s not me. It’s always been trying to make better kids, trying to mentor kids, teach them to be good young men, teach them to put school first, teach them to put family first, to be brave enough to go against the grain of society when the society’s telling them to be selfish and not do it.

“If you make better people, you make better players,” he said.

To that end, Trimble has built a foundation of four priorities on which he lives his life and encourages his players to do likewise.

“Faith. Family. Academics. Football,” he said. “We try to keep them in that order.”

Being a mentor, a coach, Trimble said, “is the most important thing there is.”

“Winning is just a by-product of trying to do things right,” he said.

His philosophical compass was set during his formative years at Cleveland, where he played football and baseball and wrestled.

His football coach during his final two years was Ron Wolfe.

“He probably had the biggest influence on me,” Trimble said. “He was a great motivator. A great mentor to me.”

Trimble has, in turn, taken up that torch, lighting a path for the football players in his charge.

Updated 07-26-2016

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