Who says you can’t go home again?
That’s exactly what Canyon graduate Matt Lovorn is doing. The head coach of the prestigious Stratford Elks’ football program over the last eight years was introduced as Canyon’s offensive coordinator on Friday afternoon. The shocking news came early Friday morning after Lovorn told his Stratford coaching staff and players.
“It was hard to tell the players and my coaches,” Lovorn said. “I’ll say this. There is not a group of better men and players than Stratford. They are all special and have been for a longtime. That program is bigger than one person and they will continue to be successful.”
Lovorn has been in Stratford a total of 14 years. Six of those as an assistant under former coach Eddie Metcalf, then the last eight years as the head football coach carrying the torch of Stratford’s proud tradition. Lovorn was 89-22 in eight seasons with the Elks making three state semifinal appearances and winning a UIL Class 2A Division II state championship in 2021.
“I love everything about Stratford,” Lovorn said. “That coaching staff, that community and being able to be hired at Stratford 14 years ago changed my life, it changed my family’s life, and it made us into who we are today. I will always bleed blue.”
So, the question is why? Why step down from one of the top coaching jobs in the Texas Panhandle let alone the state and take a coordinator position. Yes, Lovorn is a 2005 Canyon graduate. Yes, Lovorn played for legendary Canyon football coach Blake Bryant, and now head coach Todd Winfrey when Winfrey was an assistant at that time. So, to answer the question, Lovorn says though it was difficult, he is confident that it’s best for he and his family.
“I’ve known coach (Todd) Winfrey a longtime,” Lovorn said. “I played for him, and he means a lot to me. It’s a huge honor to be here. Canyon holds a special place to my heart. Coach (Blake) Bryant and coach Winfrey are mentors. To be able to come back and make an impact in the locker room I played in is important and a new challenge. I look forward to the challenge and it’s something that felt right.”
Winfrey echoed Lovorn’s comment.
“We had talked about it in the past,” Winfrey said. “But you can say things all the time and you never know how serious it is. But I feel like a seed was planted. We had longtime coach Billy Rushing leave to take over at Stanton and we had a spot, so I asked him. He thought it over called me back and was interested and it rolled from there.”
Winfrey says hiring a coach with Lovorn’s pedigree is an obvious win, but to bring in the type of person that Lovorn represents is priceless.
“He brings everything to the table,” Winfrey said. “This hire is more than football. We hired a great person that is amazing with young men. He is everything great that represents Canyon.”
Stratford has named offensive line coach Jonathan Murphy as the interim athletic director. Murphy was Lovorn’s first hire when he took over at Stratford and a man Lovorn has full trust in if is given a chance at the job.
“You’re tugging at my heartstrings when you talk about coach Murphy,” Lovorn said. “He’s probably my best friend. There couldn’t be a better guy to step in and take over.”