Assistant Cross Country Coach Alicia Gunter, left, and Head Football Coach Matt Perkins, both of West Plains High School, were each recently named Coach of the Year by the Ozark Conference and their respective coaching associations.

If the definition of a Zizzer means being a person of the highest caliber, then two West Plains High School coaches exemplify it.

Assistant cross country coach Alicia Gunter and head football coach Matt Perkins recently each received top honors for their respective spectacular seasons.

Gunter, whose girls cross country team won the 2020 MSHSAA Class 4 State Championship, was named Class 4 Girls Coach of the Year by the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association on Dec. 11. The same day, she was named the Southwest Missouri Cross Country Girls Class 4 Coach of the Year.

"It's a true honor to be named Coach of the Year. It's a team effort between the other coaches I get to coach with and the kids I have the privilege to coach,” she said, crediting fellow coaches Chris Taylor, Abby Eldringhoff and Head Coach Joe Bill Dixon. “This year's teams both excelled making the trophy stand, but the girls reached their goal of being state champions. I'm truly honored and blessed to be a part of this great program that has a long history of success and  great tradition.”

Perkins, whose football team earned the titles of both Ozark Conference champs and Class 4 District 5 champs, was named Ozark Conference Coach Of The Year Nov. 23, and then on Dec. 10, was named Southwest Missouri Football Coaches Association Coach Of The Year.

Perkins is in his second season as head football coach.

“2020 was filled with trials for everyone. Coming to work with the group I got to coach was a reprieve from that stress,” said Perkins. “I will miss this group and would love more time with them. They practiced hard, worked out hard, played hard, and showed more resiliency than any team I’ve had the pleasure to coach.”

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