Vincent named new Jimtown coach

ELKHART — Cody Vincent has made it back home.

Vincent, a 2004 Jimtown graduate who played for legendary JHS coach Bill Sharpe, was named the new head football coach of the Jimmies, replacing Cory Stoner.

Vincent was approved by the Baugo School Board Monday night.

“It’s kind of cliche but there really is no place like home,’’ Vincent said. “You can wear all the other colors and logos, but there really is only one that means as much as any other. Jimtown is just special to me.’’

He comes back to Baugo Township after coaching in a number of locations, including as the NorthWood High School special teams coach the past two seasons. The Panthers reached the Class 4A state title game last fall under head coach Nate Andrews.

Vincent was a member of the Jimtown staff from 2011 to 2014, before working with various positions in college football for Notre Dame, SMU and Arkansas from 2015-2021.

“I owe Nate and the entire NorthWood stafff so much,’’ Vincent said. “It’s was just two seasons, but I believe I’m a much more well-rounded coach now then when I came back to the area.

“I was very honest with Nate when I came back to Indiana that my goal was to be a head football coach ... of course, I had no idea it would be Jimtown and just two years later. Nate was very intentional in everything and held me accountable. That has helped develop me into the best coach I can be.’’

By the way, the Jimmies’ opening game next August will be at home against NorthWood.

“It’s just so weird that it’s worked out that way,’’ Vincent said. “I have so many great relationships with the people on the staff and in the community and of course the players are just awesome.

“But in the end, it’s just a football game and it’s meant to be competitive and we’re going to go out there and compete with them.’’

Of course, Vincent also played for a legend in Sharpe, who won four state titles with the Jimmies and now has the stadium named after him at Jimtown.

“Obviously, playing for a legend and then getting to coach at the school where he built a powerhouse is a great thrill,’’ Vincent said. “Jimtown has had an identity for over 40 years that mirrors the community and that boils down to toughness, gritty and underdog schemes.’’

Vincent said he plans to meet with the players soon and will see what he has before setting an offensive plan in stone.

“I have some ideas of course, but I haven’t seen the roster up close yet,’’ Vincent said. “I obviously want to get the best 11 on the field and get the ball to the best athletes. We will also really focus on fundamentals.

Jimtown has long been known as a team that loves to run the football and Vincent doesn’t plan to venture too far away from that.


“We can still be Jimtown, but that doesn’t mean we have to do things exactly like it’s always been done here,’’ Vincent said. “You can’t get too comfortable and assume things will be the same.’’

After spending three years as an assistant with the Jimmies, Vincent worked as an advance scout with the special teams at Notre Dame under Brian Kelly. He also worked in recruiting at both SMU and Arkansas.

“Most of my background in college is in recruiting and recruiting is about building relationships, which I believe is a strength of mine,’’ Vincent said. “You want to develop a relationship with kids who will then play their hearts out for you.

“I also learned about the sense of urgency in college football. I was dealing with coaches making millions of dollars a year with an incredible sense of detail. If there was one thing out of place, they hold you accountable and it can be the end of the world.’’

Jimtown will also move into a new conference next fall, leaving the Northern Indiana Conference for the Indiana Northern State Conference with Tippecanoe Valley, John Glenn, LaVille, Bremen and Knox.

“I played in a conference with many of these same teams, but it’s not the same conference for sure now,’’ Vincent said. “When you look at our schedule, there isn’t a week off, which is good because it will keep our players and coaches sharp .

“But it’s going to be a grind, for sure.’’

Vincent’s hire is the biggest for Jimtown athletic director Scott Hamstra, who took over AD duties in July.

“We are very excited to welcome back Cody,’’ Hamstra said. “He is a football junkie with a tireless worth ethic and an offensive mind. Having college football experience, he can bring in a unique perspective.

“Also, as a former graduate of the program, he has a great passion for Jimtown football and knows all that it represents and what is required to be successful.’’

Stoner, who had coached the Jimmies for four seasons and won three NIC North-South Division titles, left to become Fairfield’s new football coach in March. He had a record of 29-16 with the Jimmies, including 4-6 last season.

Vincent graduated from IUSB with a degree in elementary education and earned his Master of Education from the University of Arkansas in 2021. He and his wife Kayla have two children.

Vincent said Monday that he will be teaching at the high school beginning next fall, but he doesn’t have an assignment as of yet.