Interviewing coaches who have won a state championship game is easy.
Steven Cerny led the Comanches to a state football title in 2004, state baseball titles in 1992 and 2002, and state softball titles in 2015 and 2016. He also served as an assistant for the 2004 state baseball title. Advocate File Photo
They are more than happy to talk about the game, the season and their experiences.
But speaking with a coach who has just lost a state championship game is just the opposite.
Obviously, they are devastated coming so close to their ultimate goal and falling just short.
I interviewed Shiner’s Steven Cerny twice after he won state baseball championships and once after he won a state football title –- in Wichita Falls of all places -- when he announced he was going not to Disneyland, but to take his wife on a promised trip to Las Vegas.
But I clearly recall speaking with Cerny after the Comanches lost in the 2003 and 2013 football state finals.
Both of those losses came down to the fourth quarter and were excruciating.
But Cerny calmly answered every question and not once did he snap at a question or more importantly, throw any of his players or coaches under the bus.
Cerny, 54, is retiring as athletic director and head football and head softball coach at Shiner at the conclusion of the school year.
He won five overall state championships – two each in baseball and softball, and one in football.
But what will remain with Cerny are the losses and the tough decisions he had to make during his coaching career.
“When I look back on stuff, it’s more of the things when you failed that stick out,” he said. “It’s sad, but the games you almost won or could have won and those kind of things. I even agonize over the fact that sometimes you have kids who work really hard but they don’t have the talent and may not get to play and you’ve got to make those decisions. Those kinds of things bother me more than anything.”
Shiner’s Steven Cerny announced his retirement March 18. Cerny began his his high school coaching career in 1988. Advocate file photos
Cerny’s teams were always fundamentally sound, disciplined, and well coached and if they lost, it wasn’t because they weren’t prepared.
A majority off those losses were because the other team was more talented.
“We’ve had the tough losses, but at least we’ve been able to put ourselves in those opportunities,” Cerny said. “There are a lot of other coaches and other schools that haven’t had that chance and it’s part of success, you’re going to have failure as well.”
Shiner’s Dadrian Taylor is currently playing at UTSA, but Cerny hasn’t coached many Division I athletes.
Delivering the Goods
State championships won by Shiner coach Steven Cerny, who will retire at the end of the school year:
Head Coach: Baseball, 1992 and 2002
Assistant Coach Baseball, 2004.
Head Coach Football, 2004.
Head Coach Softball, 2015 and 2016.
Others like Chris Baer, who played at Division III Trinity, or Marcus Rodriquez, who is currently playing at Southwestern Assemblies of God, found opportunities at smaller schools.
Many never played beyond high school, but have gone on to have successful careers.
“You’ve got to learn to deal with failure because there are a lot of failures in life,” Cerny said. “I think that the kids in our program get to go through both and it’s going to make them better and it’s helped them become better people.”
Cerny owns land near Shiner and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Donna, and his son, Brandon, who attends Texas A&M, and daughter Emily, who is a senior on the Shiner softball team.
But he doesn’t plan to be a stranger to the program, which will be directed by his former player and long-time assistant Daniel Boedeker.
“I still want to be involved,” he said. “I hope to volunteer some time to help. I want this program to even get stronger. I’d like to still be a part of it in some form or fashion.”
Coaching and teaching in Shiner has played an important role in Cerny’s life and anyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path is much the better for it.
“We’ve had so many good times here,” Cerny said. “It’s not one thing that sticks out more than the other. You know it’s a grind and all of a sudden when it all works out, it’s like where did time go? You don’t even realize it. You’re just worn out and then all of sudden, you’re starting over again.”
Mike Forman is the Sports Editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org