Quite the honor: Webb headed to football coaches hall of fame

Former Cadillac High School football coach Jim Webb talks to his team after an MHSAA Division 4 playoff game in 2014. Webb will be inducted into the football coaches hall of fame later this winter.

This all started an agreement between two sophomores in high school.

One of those kids went in a different direction.

Jim Webb followed their agreement to become a teacher and a football coach.

Let's just say it's worked out pretty well.

Webb, who taught for more than 30 years at Hartford and Cadillac high schools, will be inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 9 in Lansing.

The Davison native coached in Hartford from 1983 to 1997 before coming north to Cadillac. Webb coached the Vikings from 1998 until his retirement in 2014 and is the longest tenured coach in program history.

Being inducted into the coaches' hall of fame has given him pause to be thankful for the people he's worked with, the people he's met along the way and the relationships they've formed.

"It's kind of humbling once it happens," Webb said. "I've been very blessed to work in two school districts and communities that were very supportive of the football program from the top on down.

"I also was very blessed two have two very loyal staffs to work with. Without them, and hundreds of players along the way, this wouldn't have been awarded. This really is a team award to me. Football is truly the best team sport out there."

Webb played high school football in Davison and already had it in his mind that teaching the game to others was something he wanted to do.

"I love the game of football and what it teaches about life," he said. "That's maybe even more important today.

"That was always my desire…to teach and coach."

After graduating from Central Michigan University, Webb got his first job at Hartford. He was the assistant varsity football coach at the southwest Michigan school from 1983 to 1986 before a short stint as the varsity basketball coach.

He took over the head football job in 1988 and would compile at 78-20 record over the next 10 years. That included that 1993 Class CC state championship and all that comes with it.

"That was the ultimate," Webb said. "That was just a neat experience and a neat season for everyone involved.

"We were 13-0 that year and the only team in southwest Michigan to do that."

Webb also earned MHSFCA Coach of the Year honors for that season.

Former Cadillac High School athletic director John Horrigan and former administrator Sue Westhauser entered the picture in 1998 and brought Webb north to Cadillac.

He'd help bring the Vikings' program to new heights.

Under Webb, Cadillac won four Big North Conference championships and four district championships. The Vikings qualified for the MHSAA playoffs 10 times under Webb and had undefeated regular seasons in 2000, 2013 and 2014.

He compiled a 91-80 record in Cadillac, bringing his overall record to 194-112 over 31 years as a coach.

"There's so many memories of great games," he said. "It's really hard to pick one over another.

"There were the big playoff wins against Petoskey and Gaylord and the big comebacks against the Traverse City schools.

"With (his oldest son) Jared's team, we started 0-3 and were blown out but came back to make the playoffs. With (youngest son) Logan's team, they were 0-9 as freshmen but ended up having two unbeaten seasons (as varsity players). That makes you feel good as a coach…that players are developing in your program."

All those wins and championships and honors are special, but the bottom line is the people he's worked with are even more special.

"It's really the friendships and relationships I've had with players and coaches," Webb said. "Those are the most special memories in my mind.

"I was very fortunate at both schools to have staffs that were very consistent. A lot of the guys were with me for all 17 years at Cadillac and I had the same thing at Hartford. That's very special and pretty rare."

Webb, who now calls Indian River home, is still in touch with the game as the northern Michigan sales representative for Riddell.

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