Late on a Tuesday afternoon, in the shadow of Hutchens Stadium, the Lincoln High School football team was on the practice field preparing for a new school year and a new season. From running plays to hitting the tackling dummies, the Rails were getting ready for the 2022 season’s opening game in just 10 days.
A new season in any sport brings change, and for the Lincoln Rails change extends to the top with a new head coach: Duane Matthess. In fact, Matthess is part of a trio of new head football coaches at DMPS high schools, joining Theo Evans at Hoover and Tyrone Tyler at East.
When asked what he’s most excited about for his first season as Lincoln’s head coach, for Matthess it wasn’t just about the win-loss columns but about the student-athletes: “Just getting into the building more and learning more about our athletes, and building the relationships with them. I truly believe that when players realize their coaches care about them beyond the football field, that is when special things happen on the football field.”
Those special things on the football field can mean continued success for the Pride of the Southside.
Matthess, a native of Tipton, Iowa, brings years of experience as both a player and coach. He played college football at Iowa Central Community College followed by several years in Arena Football for teams including the Quad City Steamwheelers, Fargo Freeze and Madison Mad Dogs. He is finishing up nearly two decades as a high school football coach. In 2020, as head coach at Nodaway Valley, Matthess was selected as both the district and regional coach of the year.
Matthess earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Mercy University, where he was a double major in secondary education and social sciences, and is completing his master’s degree in special education from Morningside College. He works as a special education teacher at Lincoln High School.
Lincoln kicks off the 2022 football season on Friday, August 26 when they host Sioux City West. But first it’s the annual Chicken Bowl in support of Lincoln athletics and activities. The event – complete with a football scrimmage, marching band and cheerleaders – is this Friday evening.