MUSCATINE, Iowa–After Muscatine High School head football coach Jake Mueller stepped down to take a new position in his hometown of Cedar Falls, D. J. Hawkins became the Muskies newest head coach. A longtime coach at Muscatine High School with years of experience, Hawkins savors the opportunity to continue moving the team forward.
Hawkins first discovered his love for football while growing up in Manly, near Mason City. He first joined his school’s football team in seventh grade. He found he enjoyed working as part of a team, still his favorite aspect of the sport today.
As a sophomore in college, Hawkins decided he wanted to become a teacher. At that time, he also began to consider coaching as well.
After graduating from college, Hawkins coached football at several different schools. He spent three years at Desert High School in Edwards, California, before coming to Muscatine for the first time. He helped coach the Muskies for four years, before taking a job at Iowa City West, then returning to Muscatine four years later. Hawkins has worked with the Muskies for the past eight years now, and looks forward to stepping up as their head coach, “I am very excited to get the opportunity to lead the Muskies,” he shared. “We have great players and coaches here that I love working with.”
In his new role, Hawkins aims to help his players continue to improve and to have a successful season this fall. “I hope that at the end of the year all the kids can say that they had a great experience, leave better than they were, and that we competed every Friday night,” he explained. “Last year was rough on everybody, so we are all looking forward to getting back out on the field and showing what we are capable of.”
Hawkins also relishes continuing to help his players reach their full potential. “I enjoy getting to work with all of the kids,” he said: “Every kid is different and learns in different ways. Football allows me to develop different and better relationships with them than I would if I only had them in a class.”
Though football season remains months off and may look different from past seasons, the Muskies and their fans welcome Hawkins as their head coach. Hawkins, in turn, welcomes the opportunity to help his team reach new heights and attain new goals.