Kilcrease leads Pats to title, nabs Coach of Year honors
Steven Kilcrease is dedicated to his boys, all 30 of them.
This year, Kilcrease led the Pike Liberal Arts School Patriots to the school’s first ever state championship in football and he stayed dedicated to what he was doing all year.
This dedication and passion for his job earned Kilcrease The Messenger’s 2008 All-County Coach of the Year award. But sticking true to form, Kilcrease did not want to talk about himself.
“It feels good to get this honor, but we have a lot of good coaches around us in the county,” Kilcrease said. “They all did a great job this year because I remember talking about this earlier that this was the first time in history that every school (in the county) made the playoffs. That is exciting for this community and this county.”
Kilcrease said he is honored to win the award, but he cannot take all the credit.
“I think there are several coaches that are deserving of this, but to me it is a team award and it goes along with the state championship trophy,” he said. “That is honestly the way I look at it.”
Kilcrease may not want to talk about all the time and effort he put into this season, but his assistant coaches do not hold anything back.
“He is a hard worker,” assistant coach Tim Davenport said. “He puts a tremendous amount of time into everything.”
Davenport said a switch in philosophy from last year to this year contributed to the Patriots’ success.
“Last year we split things a lot where some of us did offense and some did defense, but this year he took more of a lead in all of it,” Davenport said. “We all took part in doing everything rather than having an offensive team and a defensive team, offensive coach, defensive coach setup. We put more effort into it. I think that helped us out a lot. We had more people working towards that goal that we were working towards.”
Pike assistant David Thrash echoes Davenport’s sentiments.
“He is dedicated and really into his job,” Thrash said. “Time is the main thing and everyday he is working on something offensively or defensively to beat the other team. I have been around football for quite a few years and the past two years with him it is unbelievable the time he puts into his job and loves it.
“I think he is just really deserving of Coach of the Year because of his dedication and the time he puts in with the kids and his love of the game.”
Assistant coach Bob Pickett went a little further in his description of Kilcrease’s work habits.
“He is a perfectionist and he is always striving for perfection,” Pickett said. “He wants it done his way, the right way every week and he is so particular about the little bitty things, but that is what made us good.”
The coaches can talk about him all day long until they run out of things to say, but Kilcrease said the true reason this team brought home a state championship was simple.
“We had a good group that had a lot of chemistry and they enjoyed being around each other this year,” Kilcrease said. “Any coach can attest that if you have a group that enjoys being around each other and enjoys playing together that is the first thing.
A little luck never hurts a team.
A lot of things fell into place for us this year,” Kilcrease said. “You sort of sit back and think about things that happened from the first of the summer all the way through to the championship game. I guess there is a reason for everything and it is like it was our time.
We had a great group of guys that were fun to coach. They wanted to work, some stayed after practice. We had a group that was eager to work out and my job was pretty easy because of the group we had.
“This is a dream come true and this was just a dream season for this school and this football team. We all want to win a state championship and we want to be on the top and we had that opportunity this year and it was fun.”
But the dream came together with a lot of hard work and Kilcrease was happy to have a great team on the field.
“I didn’t have to do anything,” Kilcrease said. “I know that sounds crazy, but I have said it many times. The Monday after we got beat in the playoffs last year we had a team meeting with everybody and then we had a team meeting with just the guys who would be back.
“We told them we have to get in the weight room because we physically weren’t there yet. Then I was going to give them a few days off and they refused. They left that meeting and went to the weight room. That tells the tale right there because they practice and work hard every day. There was commitment to getting it done.”
All that commitment from the coach and the players led to a state championship, and for that Kilcrease will always be known as the coach who led Pike Liberal to its first state championship.