Lee named Simmons First Coach of the Year

Dollarway head coach Cortez Lee was award the Simmons First Coach of the Year Wednesday morning.

“It was a good feeling,” Lee said. “It made me feel proud to be part of this team and school district.

“Overall it is a good feeling.”

Lee received a plaque and check from Simmons First National Bank. Dollarway High received the “Winning School” award and received $1,000 to go towards the football program.

“I think they look at the coaching style, the school and the importance of coaching,” Lee said. “They look to see how you interact with your team and school.

“To me, it seemed like it had more of a personal touch.”

The Simmons First Coach of the Year Award celebrates high school coaches whose season was marked by success and sportsmanship of their teams, the achievements of their student-athletes in the classroom and their selfless support of charity in their communities.

“It felt real good,” Lee said. “It caught me by surprise.”

Lee said about three weeks ago, he received a call saying he had won the class 4A Coach of the Year, but he thought that was the end of it.

It wasn’t until his colleagues started acting suspicious on Wednesday that he thought something was up.

“Today I noticed a lot of my colleagues asking me weird questions,” Lee said. “… I went for a ride and when I came back, the administration, KATV-7 and Mr. Craig from Simmons were all there.

“I could tell this was a real nice honor.”

The Cardinals (13-1) won the 2-4A conference championship after finishing the regular season undefeated. They made it to the semifinals of the state playoffs before losing to eventual state champ Booneville.

“I think it was a big part of it,” Lee said. “Along with the type of attitude and characteristics we displayed.

“I thought we were exciting to watch and I think we did it with class. I think it was a combination of things that helped it with that.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony was Arkansas signee Josh Liddell.