Coach of the Year: Lane Kirkland, Carey High, ID

[su_pullquote class=”coty-lede”]Carey High (Idaho) coach Lane Kirkland capped off the 2017 season by lifting the Panthers to their first state championship since 2010.[/su_pullquote]

With a 50-42 win over Tri Valley in the Idaho 1A Division II state championship game, the Panthers finished undefeated (12-0) for the first time since 2008, and won their sixth state title in the Idaho High School Activities Association era.

Kirkland, who boats a career record of 145-35, took over the program from his father, Heber Kirkland, in 2001. He had big shoes to fill; his father won two state championships with Carey.

Lane Kirkland now boats 10 state trophies in his 17 years as head coach at Carey. As a program, Carey has won six state championships, made five other appearances in state championship games, and finished in third place five other times.

Playing in the Sawtooth Conference in Southern Idaho, Carey routinely churns out some of the state’s top prospects. Last year was no exception, led by junior Porter Mecham, who was named Idaho 1A High School Player of the Year.

Kirkland has coached in several Shrine Bowl All-Star Games. With his work ethic, love for the game and focus on team work, brotherhood and sportsmanship, he has made Carey one of the most popular 8-man programs in the state – in terms of participation numbers.