A Legacy of Greatness
Part One of a two part series:
Family, friends share memories of Newton's winningest coach
“Before every home game, we would sit in silence after coming back in from warm ups. So silent, you could hear the conversations taking place in the bleachers above you, the footsteps, water dripping from the pipes, then every note of the National Anthem being played by the band. As the locker rooms stood silent, we would wait for the off-white coach’s office door to creek open. When it did, Coach J would walk out slowly, and while removing his hat, he’d simply say, ‘All right. Take a knee.’ That was our cue. It was time to say The Lord’s Prayer,” recalled Nick Matsen, 1997 All-State Team, First-Team All CIML selection and UNI offensive lineman, of John Jenkins.
Former Newton Cardinal football players have an immense amount of respect, loyalty and admiration for the diligent John Jenkins because of the man he is and the men he led them to be. His players hold onto each vivid memory of being a member of a team, giving their best efforts and making good decisions, even though John now struggles to recall those memorable years because he recently was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.
When John and his wife, Jo, moved to Newton in 1984, he had no idea how he would impact the lives of so many young adults or the role he would play in the pride of the community.
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