By JUSTIN RAINS
After nine years and two state championships, Greg Jenkins is saying goodbye to the Cayuga Independent School District.
On Monday, the Tenaha school board approved Tenaha ISD’s hire of Jenkins onto their athletic staff. He will join the Tigers in an assistant’s role with both the varsity football program, as well as the basketball program.
While he said he was excited for the new opportunity, Monday was nothing if not bittersweet for Jenkins and his family. He called it “the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
“I can’t thank Cayuga enough for what they’ve done for me and my family,” he said. “Not only the kids...but the administration has been good to me. The people have been good to me. The support from the community has been unbelievable.”
Jenkins joins an athletic program with which he is all too familiar. In both 2011 and 2012, Tenaha eliminated Cayuga from the regional basketball tournament.
“The history of the Tenaha/Cayuga rivalry has formed a mutual respect,” Tenaha ISD Superintendent Scott Tyner said. “The way he operates with Cayuga kids mirrors the way we operate with our kids.”
It’s also a successful athletic program, with numerous resources at its disposal and a talented group of underclassmen waiting in the wings.
“Tenaha is probably the only Class 1A job in the state of Texas that could offer me what they’re going to offer me,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins led the Cayuga boys’ basketball team to the 2009-2010 state basketball title as its head coach, months after serving as an assistant as the Wildcat football team won the 2009 state football title.
He took over as the Cayuga athletic director in 2010 after the departure of Tommy Allison, and twice led the Cayuga football team to the playoffs in his three seasons as head coach.
But, the bulk of his legacy was forged on the basketball court. In his seven years as the head of the Cayuga program — from 2005 until 2010, and then again from 2011 to 2013 — Jenkins won almost 80 percent of his games (171-42).
But, Jenkins credited his players for all of his successes.
“I just look back on Cayuga and the reason I’m in the position I’m in...is because of the kids that have come through,” he said. “It’s because of the Malcome Kennedys and the Traylon Sheads and the Preston Andersons. They put Cayuga on the map and they put Coach Jenkins on the map too. They make you look better than you are.”
Along with what he brings as a coach, Tyner said Jenkins’ knowledge as an administrator also makes him a valuable hire for the Tiger program.
“Coach Jenkins’ experience as an athletic director and his success doing so can fit in great with our culture here at Tenaha,” Tyner said.
At Tenaha, Jenkins will have a chance to coach some junior high basketball — meaning he once again will have a son on the roster. After coaching son Hunter three of the last four years, he can now coach son Hayden, who will be in sixth grade.
“That’s part of it. Their younger classes, they say, are some of the best classes to come through Tenaha,” Jenkins said. “That was part of the equation, putting him in that environment. That’s not a knock on Cayuga, but just a compliment to the young classes coming to Tenaha.
“It was very important for me to put Hayden in a position to where he can be successful.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org