Wignington Loves Building Relationships
Lee Wiginton has won a lot of football games as a head coach. But no amount of wins will ever replace the memories he’s mounting in an enviable career and life. A life that would no doubt make his father, Ken Wiginton, who was also a coach, proud.
“My dad was the most compassionate teacher/coach that I’ve ever been around. He had such joy in every part of the profession,” said Wiginton, the head coach of the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars.
“From an elementary school age, I knew this is what I dreamed to be doing. The most rewarding part of this profession is the relationships. The most meaningful part of relationships is getting to be a part of lives changing for the better.”
Wiginton has been changing lives for the better as a coach since his first gig at Edison Junior High in San Angelo in 1993. In 2000 he became a high school head coach and athletic director at Class 1A Bosqueville, leading them to the first 11-man playoff berth in school history.
150 Wins As Head Coach
And earlier this season he won his 150th game as a head coach as he appears to have Heritage heading for yet another postseason berth. Ever humble, Coach Wiginton took the accomplishment in stride, deflecting the spotlight to those alongside him.
“I simply consider it a blessing to have been able to continue to coach long enough to reach this milestone. In terms of how we’ve gotten to this point, our coaches and athletes have worked incredibly long hours for many years and have dedicated much of their lives to our football program,” he said. “I had no idea how many wins we’ve had over the years, but I do know that my best friends are the guys who I’ve spent my adult life with in this profession.”
This year’s version of the Jaguars was 4-1 at the time of this article. Since the program started in 2015, all seasons with Coach Wiginton at the helm, Heritage has won 61 games, including an 11-5 record in the playoffs.
In only their second season the Jaguars went 12-2 and reached the Class 4A state quarterfinals. That was followed by records of 12-1 (third round), 11-2 (third round), 10-4 (state quarterfinals) and 8-4 (second round) in 2020.
Talented Athletes, Dedicated Coaches
Ask him how he was able to turn Heritage into a perennial power so fast (they were 4-5 in their initial campaign in 2015), Wiginton will respond simply, “I’ve been blessed at Heritage to work with and for amazing people who have always had a vision and a desire to work towards an expectation of excellence. We’ve also had our fair share of very talented athletes, and more importantly we’ve also had athlete after athlete come through who has given so much of himself in his drive to build a highly successful football program.”
Wiginton has also had successful stops as a head coach at Class 2A Comfort (also the athletic director), two years at Mexia (also AD) and five years at crosstown Midlothian before moving to Heritage. His 2012 Midlothian squad reached the second round of the playoffs.
But so much of Wiginton’s success is beyond the football field, which was best exemplified when he was named the 2020 Texas High School Coaches Association Grant Teaff Beyond the Game Award winner. The award represents coaches who do more than teach players the Xs and Os of the game.
Emphasizing Life Off The Field
“Our program has always spent an enormous amount of time on doing things outside of the game of football to help shape the lives of our athletes,” Wiginton said. “Some of us will remember a win or a loss from year to year. But most of our lasting memories come from these experiences that we create off the field.
“These activities serve a variety of purposes from helping those in need, to recognizing those who deserve it, to serving as a positive role model, to simply having fun in team building moments.”
Among his greatest joys in sports has been playing for his dad in Lampasas and then coaching alongside him in both Lampasas and Bastrop.
Wiginton was also recently a nominee for president of the THSCA, an organization for which he has worked for passionately for years.
What It Means To Be a Texas High School COACH
“The more involved I’ve gotten with our Coaches Association it has opened my eyes to the fact of how much our association does. Being called a coach is a title that I take great pride in,” he said. “That term doesn’t mean that I run a football practice or can design a play. A Texas High School COACH is a term that means this person is committed to doing everything he/she can do to improve the lives of young people, to make his/her school a better school, and to bring pride to his/her community. I am honored to be a Coach.”
Among this many honors, Wiginton has served as a director of the North Texas Football Coaches’ Association since 2014. He had the honor of serving on the THSCA All-Star Selection Committee in 2002. Additionally, he has led his teams to the playoffs at every one of his coaching stops.
He has been named coach of the year in his district in 2001, ’03, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’16, ’17, and ’18; was the 2003 Texas HS Football.com 1A Coach of the Year; was a 2003 Fox Sports Southwest 1A Coach of the Year Finalist; the 2006 Hill Country Coach of the Year; and the Dallas Cowboy Coach of the Week three times (Week 5 in 2010, playoffs in 2016, and Week 2 in 2018).
And through it all, he said he’s proud to call Midlothian home, he said.
“I never dreamt that Midlothian would become home when we moved here almost 12 years ago. My life has been so blessed by this community and this school district,” he said.