COYpritchard

Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette All-Area football Coach of the Year photo with Paxton-Buckley-Loda's Josh Pritchard, at the team's field in Paxton on on Wednesday, Dec.18, 2019.Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette All-Area football Coach of the Year photo with Paxton-Buckley-Loda's Josh Pritchard, at the team's field in Paxton on on Wednesday, Dec.18, 2019.

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Why he’s Coach of the Year

Brought in from Petersburg PORTA to take the reigns from former longtime coach Jeff Graham, Pritchard immediately got his athletes to buy in. Despite a season-opening loss to rival Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, the Panthers made their deepest playoff run this century by qualifying for the Class 3A quarterfinals and posting an upset of fourth-seeded Farmington along the way.

Season highlights

“Making the quarterfinals was a phenomenal highlight. That’s probably the biggest, I guess. My first playoff win as a head coach. Just a lot of different things. The kids setting records and putting points up on the board and just having a great time overall. That’s what your highlight is as a coach: You just want your kids to have fun and enjoy the season, and I think that’s what our kids did.”

A few of my favorites

My favorite food is chicken wings. I could eat chicken wings every day. ... My first car was a 1999 maroon Ford Taurus. ... My favorite non-sports hobby is I don’t have a lot of hobbies outside of sports. I watch sports non-stop. My wife kind of gets sick of it. ... My dream vacation destination is the Virgin Islands. We were going to go there for our honeymoon, and it ended up not working out so well. ... My favorite sporting event I’ve attended live is a Green Bay Packers game. My family has season tickets at Lambeau Field, so that’s always a great sporting event. I was actually at the game that (Dallas’) Dez Bryant dropped the ball (in the playoffs). So that would’ve been one of my favorites. My other one would’ve been in 2013, when I was at Soldier Field (in Chicago) when Randall Cobb caught the touchdown to win the division against the Bears. ... My favorite professional sports team is the Green Bay Packers. That’s the one thing that I really care about. ... My favorite musician is Bon Jovi, which I hadn’t gone to a concert ever until I was maybe 28 years old. My wife got tickets for my birthday, and that’s who I went and saw was Bon Jovi in St. Louis. ... Three items on my bucket list are go to the Super Bowl, coach a player that goes to the NFL and win a state title.

What I enjoy most about coaching

“Honestly, I enjoy everything. I really do enjoy being around the kids, joking and having a good time. I’m super competitive, so anything you can compete in. But I enjoy everything about coaching. I don’t think there’s one thing that I’m like, ‘Man, I just dislike.’ Other than losing.”

Honor Roll: Previous News-Gazette All-Area football Coaches of the Year

YEAR COACH SCHOOL

2019 Josh Pritchard Paxton-Buckley-Loda

2018 Cully Welter Monticello

2017 Mike Allen GCMS

2016 Cully Welter Monticello

2015 Zach Zehr Arcola

2014 Rick Reinhart Tuscola

2013 Dick Duval St. Joseph-Ogden

2012 Scott Hamilton Unity

2011 Rick Reinhart Tuscola

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).