ABILENE – The Abilene ISD Athletics Department has started a new program to honor its coaches at both the middle school and high school levels, and the first recipients of the Coach of the Month Award are Clack Middle School coach Kimberly Dixon and Abilene High offensive line coach Tommy Martinez.

Dixon – a graduate of McMurry University – is at the start of her seventh year of teaching and coaching at Clack Middle School. She coaches volleyball, basketball and track for the Lady Cardinals.

“I chose a career in education because of my love, dedication to and passion for sports,” Dixon said. “My basketball coach at Cooper High School (Anthony Watkins) was such an inspiration to me and had a huge impact on my life, both on and off the court. My goal is to impact the lives of the students I coach.”

If that’s her goal, she has certainly made strides toward accomplishing it, according to one Clack Lady Cardinal.

“Coach Dixon is kind and caring,” the student-athlete said. “She goes out of her way to h help us in athletics and academics. She is an encourager that we can talk to about our problems. We love Coach Dixon!”

Martinez is a graduate of Tarleton State University who is in his 26th year of teaching and coaching in the Abilene ISD. He leads the offensive line group at AHS, which is 3-2 overall and 1-0 in district play having won three straight games heading into Friday night’s showdown with Midland Legacy at Shotwell Stadium.

“I chose coaching as a career because I love kids and I love the development and opportunities that sports offers to kids,” Martinez said. “I believe kids learn from wins and losses, but more importantly, they learn to be teammates and they learn the lessons that will help them in life after they’re done playing sports.”

Those lessons include how to focus, how to prepare, how to build bonds and how to perform, something one of his players said Martinez instills in each of his linemen.

“Coach Martinez is a great teacher of the game of football,” the player said. “He demands that we focus at all times and we know that his expectations of us make us better. Coach Martinez builds a family atmosphere within the offensive line, which makes us accountable to each other.”