Surprise move in Texas Panhandle: Stratford's Lovorn on the move

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In a surprise move in the Texas Panhandle, Stratford head coach Matt Lovorn announced to his team on Friday that he was leaving Stratford to take the offensive coordinator position at Class 4A Canyon, which is also his alma mater. The news was first reported by Panhandle Sports Hall of Famer Lance Lahnert in the Amarillo area.

Lovorn, who spent the last eight seasons as the Elks head coach, is best known for leading Stratford to a 15-1 mark in 2021 and a 2A-Division II state title win over Falls City. He has maintained Stratford among the top small school programs in Texas, posting an 89-22 overall record.

Coach Lovorn has only coached in Stratford as he joined Eddie Metcalf’s staff at Stratford right out of school in 2009.

“For my family this wasn’t a quick decision, it was a long decision and an emotional one,” he said. “The community and program at Stratford has changed our lives. We’ll forever be indebted to this community, players and coaches.”

Lovorn now prepares to head back to his alma mater and help Canyon High remain among the elite in the state in 4A-Division I.

“I’m super excited to come back to Canyon,” he said. “Coach Winfrey was my quarterbacks coach in school and I’m ready to hop on board and work with an amazing staff. It’ll be nice to be back close to home. It’ll be a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Stratford ISD announced offensive line coach John Murphy has been named the interim head coach. Considering the Elks success (27-2 the past two years with a state title), the smart money here is that Murphy at some point this offseason will have the interim tag removed.


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