MADRID, Iowa--The pride, passion and tradition of Madrid High School were all on full display Friday. "We are ready to get it started and get this season kicked off against Woodward-Granger. It's a rival game," said first year head coach Steve Perkins. So too were the heavy hearts after the death of longtime football coach Randy Hinkel. "He set the mark for excellence in our program at the school as a teacher and coach in football and track," said Perkins.
A heart attack took Hinkel's life in late December but reminders of his legacy Friday night were constant. Lisa Hinkel, mother of Randy Hinkel's two children, described the night by saying, "It's very emotional. We have so much support in this town. I can't even describe what everybody has done for us."
A pregame ceremony held a moment of silence for the man who coached Madrid for 29 years. Players took the field wearing the initials R.H. "It's awesome. It's cool to see how many lives he did impact and everybody showing support just makes it better. It'll never be better but it helps you move on," said daughter Chelsea Hinkel.
The Hinkel staple, the same wish bone offense, quickly led to a 71 yard touchdown from Michael Santi. Coach Perkins said, "It became synonymous with Madrid. When you think of the wishbone, he put his own mark on it and is well known for that."
Earning a 1991 state championship in football and 5 state titles in track and field, Hinkel's reach still extended beyond sports. "He was a father figure to a lot of people. He was a leader to a lot of people if they were lost or misguided in life."
Hinkel was well known for telling the boys, "It's a great day for football gentlemen." In his honor, through his plays and the game he loved, a community could smile in the face of adversity. "He was a teacher, coach, friend, bottom line he was a pillar of our community for quite some time," said Perkins.
In December Randy Hinkel is already inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame but in December he will also be inducted into the Iowa Association of Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame.