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Jhett Norman joining Sanderson in Midland

Photo Courtesy of Jhett Norman

By Josh Landrum
Sports Writer

Levelland offensive coordinator Jhett Norman has decided to join Jared Sanderson in Midland as the offensive coordinator for Midland Greenwood.

“We had a heck of a run the last four years,” explained Norman. “I am thankful and very blessed to have worked with great people and talented athletes.”

Norman has been coaching for 11 years. He graduated from Seminole High School in 1999 and received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Angelo State in 2006.

In 2016, Norman received a master’s in educational leadership from University of Texas Permian Basin.

Before coming to Levelland, he worked at Beville Junior High and Eldorado Middle School.

Norman joined the Levelland program in 2012 as an offensive coordinator.

“I first joined the Levelland staff as the offense coordinator for Head Coach  Gary Gutierrez in 2012. I did not have any play calling duties, it was more of a label,” Norman said.

Former head coach Jared Sanderson took over as the athletic director and head coach in 2013. 

Sanderson decided to keep Norman on his staff as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

“When Sanderson got the head coaching job, he kept me on his staff as the offensive coordinator, and he put me in charge of the whole operation,” explained Norman.

“From there, I the set goal of making it to the playoffs,” said Norman. “The second thing I wanted to accomplish was get some kids graduated and into college programs.”

“Our staff  wanted to turn Levalland program around and have kids buying into the plan we were selling them for the future,” he added.

In the 2014 season, Norman  inherited a young sophomore quarterback, Nick Gerber and the Lobos made their first playoff appearance in seven years.

In that same season, the Lobos won their first bi-district championship in 18 years.

In 2015, the Lobos’ offense improved greatly as Norman built on their accomplishments from the previous season.

The Lobos finished the 2015 campaign with a 7-5 record and recorded their first winning season in 18 years.

Levelland went on to become  back-to-back bi-district champions for the first time ever in the schools history.

Levelland also went on to win their first area championship in 65 years.

Levelland topped 2015 with their first 10 win season in 66 years in 2016. The Lobos also won their first district championship in 28 years and made it to the regional semifinal for the first time in 66 years.

Norman’s offense averaged 53 points per game and 599 yards of offense per game. 

Senior quarterback Nick Gerber broke the Texas High School single season record for touchdown passes (77) and broke the Texas High School single season record for passing yards (5,617).

“My goal was never to have a player like Nick Gerber come a long and break state record,” the coach said.

“I would also be lying if I said I knew we would have the type of success we had over the last four years,” Norman continued. 

“Do not get me wrong, I did want to help turn this program around, but we did things that still amaze me today,” he said. 

Job familiarity and being closer to family  were each deciding factors in Norman’s decision to take the job in Midland.

“I think knowing Coach Sanderson and knowing what to expect from him helped ease my decision. I basically would have the same duties and it was another opportunity to challenge ourselves,” said Norman.  

“We want to build and grow the Midland  program like we did here in Levelland,” the coach added.

“Another factor in my decision to take the job was my wife Rebecca,” Norman continued. “My wife’s family all live in Midland, so being closer to family played a big role in my decision.”

“Me and my wife have talked about moving since Sanderson got the job in Midland. We decided  that joining Sanderson in Midland was  the best thing for our family right now,” the coach explained. 

“In the grand scheme of things, I think the players and community will understand that coaches move on,” he stated.

Norman also said his decision to leave Levelland was hard, but he  is thankful for the time he got to spend here.

“In my opinion, leaving is the worst part about coaching. Very rarely does a coach stay in one place for a long periods of time,” he said.

“I really struggled with the thought of leaving Levelland. The kids here are a joy to be around and this community is great. The Love and support everyone has shown over the years has been amazing,” he added.

“I think the support we got from this community are one of the things I am going to miss the most,” he said.

“When I first started working in Levelland no one came to our games. Now, we pack Lobo Stadium on Friday nights,” he continued.

“The other things I will miss the most of course are the kids and the staff. I worked with some great people during my time here and I am going to miss those guys,” he added.

“Also other places I worked at before Levelland did not cover the players as well as you guys at the News-Press. You guys shine a light on these players and do a great job recognizing their accomplishments,” said Norman.

Norman is scheduled to start his new job in Midland on February 15.

Norman’s Levelland career comes to an end with 27-21-1 record. 

He was also a member of the 2016  ASCO All-Star Game staff.
 
“I am scheduled to start my new job on February 15.  I will meet with Sanderson soon to see what he wants to do and get a jump start on next season,” Norman concluded.

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