Remember Allan Trimble

Legendary Jenks High School football coach Allan Trimble's legacy is bigger than football

Legendary high school football coach Allan Trimble passed away on Sunday morning. He was 56. His legacy began with football. It did not end there.

Trimble had been in fighting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. To show you how tough Trimble was and how much high school football meant to him, he retired as Jenks head coach two years AFTER he was diagnosed with this despicable disease. 

He was as mighty as his teams were. I grew playing ball at a time when the New England Patriots, New York Yankees and the Golden State Warriors couldn’t hold a lit candle to what Jenks meant when Trimble roamed the sideline. When you said Trojans in my hometown, you weren’t talking about Pete Carroll’s USC or even Greek mythology. You were talking about that team in maroon riding a 22-year wave that dripped like as softly as a Tsunami.

Y’all should’ve known Trimble was special when he won his first state title in 1995 as Jenks Girls Track head coach.

Trimble got the head football coaching gig in Jenks, Oklahoma, in 1996. And thus began a run of state championships that ends with Trimble owning more rings than any other head coach in Oklahoma history. 

From ‘96 to ‘01, Jenks didn’t know what it was not to lift the gold ball at season’s end. There was an off year. And then he won another in 2003. A couple more off years, and I watched Jenks roll over my friends and high school classmates in 2006 and 2007. From ‘96 to ‘07, Trimble’s teams averaged nearly 42 points a game.

One last lull took place to let the rest of us feel like the NBA must have when Michael Jordan decided to go play baseball. And then Jenks ran off four in a row from 2012 to 2015. That’s 13 state championships and 17 state championship appearances, which is 17 more than most of us ever get. 

Forget not making the playoffs because Jenks had a spot on the bracket written in black Magic Marker in July. Hell, from September ‘99 to September 2002, Jenks didn’t lose. That’s 39 games without an L.

Trimble only missed the state semis twice. He won 242 games. He lost 41. And I guaran-damn-tee you every player, coach and parent can recount in detail how their team claimed a victory over Trimble’s Jenks. I personally know one man who refused to return his public school jersey at season’s and keeps it hung right next to his letter jacket in his closet. In a sport where winning 11 games is the highlight of a career, Trimble averaged 11 wins a season.

He won his first state title when I was in third grade and bought my first CD. He won his last three years after I graduated high school and five years before I bought my house. 

You have to understand. I’m of a generation for which Trimble was less of a man and more of final boss on the final level of adolescent angst and coming-of-age honor. If you were stupid enough to think this year was going to be The Year You Beat Jenks, you’d look up and see Rocky Calmus, Kejuan Jones, Garrett Mills or Andrew Brewer and your heart hit your stomach. As an adult, I, like many Millennials, came to see Trimble less like Thanos and more like the man of faith and family he was.

He believed in people—his people. He is of this state. A Cleveland High School and Northeastern State grad. A super green 1980s Owasso linebackers coach. A titan amid Trojans. An Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee and one of 50 greatest high school football coaches of all-time who gave rise and showed the road to success in his actions and kindness. Trimble Strong is not a catchphrase. It’s a vehicle for good works, and your donations are welcome at trimblestrong.org.

That’s not Hunter-Dwelley Field. That’s Allan Trimble Stadium you’re playing in. That’s not B Street. That’s Allan Trimble Way.

Matthew, chapter 5, verses 13-16 characterizes Trimble’s legacy.

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Salt of the earth. 

City on a hill. 

Child of God. 

Shine.

That’s Allan Trimble’s way.

Loading more posts…