Coaching the De Smet Spartans to a state football championship keeps bringing dividends for Robert Steeples.
Steeples, a De Smet graduate in 2008, recently was named the 2020 All-American Bowl Coach of the Year. He was given the award during the 2020 All-American Bowl Awards Show in San Antonio.
De Smet won a Missouri State Championship with a perfect 14-0 record this year. And it comes just two years after a dismal 1-9 campaign in just Steeples’ second season as head coach at De Smet. He also played there and won the school’s first state championship in 2005.
Steeples was up against Dan O’Shea of Corona del Mar High School in California, Eric Kjar of Corner Canyon High School in Utah and Reginald Samples of Duncanville High School in Texas.
“It was pretty awesome,” Steeples said. “I was already going to down to San Antonio to see (De Smet senior) Jordan (Johnson) play in the game and support him. I found out prior to that I was named a finalist for coach of the year. Jordan let me know I was a finalist.”
The awards ceremony was a special moment for him, Steeples said.
“When they announced it was me, it was exciting. I felt like I just won a Grammy,” Steeples said. “It’s a team sport and all that following our championship to give one person an award is unique. But the kids and the community also deserved it. We did that together. That made it worthwhile.”
The football team was honored recently at De Smet along with the two other teams that won a state championship in 2019 — the baseball team and the soccer team.
“We did a banner raising ceremony for state championship teams and that was awesome,” Steeples said. “It was kind of surreal and to realize that the banner is going up and it’s never coming down.
“That’s so cool for the kids. They’ll always have the legacy of excellence attached to them. There it is for everyone to see. They can bring your kids here someday and they can see.”
Offseason workouts will begin soon, Steeples said.
“We’ll start at square one and ground zero and build from there,” Steeples said. “The guys know what’s expected. There’s no repeating at the end of the day. It will be a whole new team with new aspirations.
“Definite;y the past four years have been good but we’re not done that. It’s the culmination of the last four years and the reflection of the work we poured into that football program. Hopefully, we will inspire other teams and programs.”