STATE CENTER - For Ken Winkler, piling up victories is sort of like a tree collecting rings around its trunk.
The more it has, the longer it's been around.
The West Marshall head football coach picked up his 300th career victory Monday night with the Class 2A No. 2 Trojans' 63-35 win over North Polk in the second round of the state playoffs.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
West Marshall head football coach Ken Winkler, left, is presented with a plaque commemorating his 300th career victory by principal Jim Henrich, far right, and athletic director David Shipley.
"I think I'm getting old," said Winkler after the game. "It means you've been around a long time and you've been places where they've given you a chance to win.
"I've had good players and communities that liked sports and gave you an opportunity to win."
The win makes Winkler the eighth coach in Iowa history to eclipse the 300-victory mark.
Only St. Edmond's Dick Tighe (391), Harlan's Curt Bladt (363), Ankeny's Jerry Pezzetti (356), Emmetsburg's Duane Twait (339), Pekin's Tom Stone (332), Cedar Falls' Pat Mitchell (325) and Mount Vernon's Jim Bellamy (320) have more wins in the history of Iowa high school football.
"Most of those guys I know and have a lot of respect for and two or three of them are very, very close friends of mine," said Winkler. "It's kind of special to be a part of that."
Winkler, now coaching in his 44th season, won state titles with Treynor in 1979 and with the Trojans in 1999.
The victory Monday means a third championship remains a possibility.
"It means a lot to the football program and the school," said West Marshall athletic director David Shipley, who awarded Winkler a plaque to commemorate the night. "It's a huge milestone for Coach Winkler. He's been at it a long time. If there's anybody that deserves it, it's obviously Coach Winkler because he puts in a lot of time and effort.
"I think the kids buy into his program. You don't do that without having great tradition.
"To get to 300 is just awesome."
Winkler has been the executive secretary of the Iowa Football Coaches Association since 1994 and served as its president in 1981.
He was inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame in 1999.
West Marshall, which sports an 11-0 record and is ranked second by The Associated Press, will look to get Winkler win 301 next Monday when the Trojans travel to Monroe to face fellow undefeated No. 5 PCM (11-0) at 7 p.m.