Lewis Central football coach Jim Duggan retiring

Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, right, meets with Lewis Central football coach Jim Duggan.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — It wasn’t a secret to those around the Council Bluffs Lewis Central football program that Jim Duggan would be stepping aside when his son, Max, graduated.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t leave a gaping hole at the top, however.

Jim Duggan’s resignation as the Titan head coach became official this week, ending the most successful tenure in program history.

In the 57-year-old Duggan’s nine years, Lewis Central made eight trips to the playoffs, including its first semifinal appearance at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls last season, along with quarterfinal berths in 2012, 2015 and 2017. His record at L.C. was 67-28 (.705).

One of the biggest reasons for Duggan’s departure is his son Max, who graduated early and is enrolled at TCU, where he’s competing at the quarterback position.

“Coaching football is a very demanding sport in the summer and the fall, so you have to be available,’’ Jim Duggan said. “If he does get the opportunity to play, I want to make sure I have the opportunity if I want to watch him.’’

Duggan said among the many quality coaches that came and went, a group that included Chris Hanafan, Jess Bond, Matt Argotsinger, Ben Matiyow and Vince Rew formed the nucleus.

“That was the core group of guys that really bought into what I was trying to sell, and that was to be committed to the program and develop multi-sport athletes,’’ he said. “I was fortunate to have the people around me down there that I did. I think that developed some kind of a sense of a competitive urgency within the athletic program.’’

Duggan has been a head coach or co-head coach for 19 years in all, with playoff runs in 17 of those. His career record is 161-46 (.778).

He spent nine years at St. Albert, leading the Falcons to state titles in 2006 and 2007, along with semifinal appearances in 2000 and 2005. He coached at Dyersville Beckman in 2002.

Rew, who coached with Duggan for seven years at L.C. and five at St. Albert, said he brought out the best in his players and coaches.

“He had a talent for letting assistant coaches coach, not just implement his plan,’’ he said. “He allowed them to earn their own successes and failures, and he asked for and valued all assistant coaches' input.’’

Duggan said Hanafan, the longtime defensive coordinator, deserves special credit.

“I can’t say enough about him,’’ Duggan said. “He was incredible. In the building, promoting all sports. He was so dedicated to the kids. He was a huge part of our success.’’

The Titans brought Justin Kammrad on board five years ago. He took over the strength and conditioning program, and was a successful offensive coordinator.

“He brought some energy to the weightroom, and then he brought that energy to the football field as an assistant coach and an offensive coordinator,’’ Duggan said. “He’s also done an unbelievable job promoting the youth football program.’’

Kammrad is expected to apply for the head job, and Duggan did not hesitate to endorse him.

“I’m not going to endorse somebody that I don’t feel comfortable with, but Justin Kammrad helped change the program there at Lewis Central, from a strength and conditioning (standpoint),’’ he said. “Then he brought in so many new ideas offensively. I was stuck in kind of a rut, as far as offensive philosophy. And then Justin came on board and he helped open my eyes to hey, we need to do some things different. He developed (current South Dakota starting QB) Austin Simmons, and he was the architect behind Max and our offense.

“He’s going to do what it takes to take it to an even higher level.’’

Duggan plans to finish the school year as a physical education teacher. He isn’t sure professionally what his next step will be. He said he’s pleased to be leaving at the same time as outgoing Activities Director Mike Hale, as they enjoyed a good relationship.

“He was a great guy to work with,’’ Duggan said. “He did a good job of working for the kids and working for the coaches.’’

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