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Victory rally (copy)

University High School head coach Jeremy Stanton (center behind trophy) laughs as U High goalie Christian Lopez talks at a rally last year after the Pioneers won the Class 1A state championship. Stanton was named the National Federation of State High School Associations boys soccer Coach of the Year on Tuesday.

NORMAL — Jeremy Stanton racked up his share of awards as a player at University High School, earning all-state recognition in soccer and basketball. Tuesday, he was honored for his coaching.

Stanton was named the National Federation of State High School Associations boys soccer Coach of the Year for the 2016-17 school year. He guided the Pioneers to the Class 1A state championship in 2016. His name was submitted for national consideration by the Illinois High School Association administrative staff.

Stanton is in his 11th season as U High coach and has a 166-70-26 record after Tuesday night’s Class 2A regional semifinal win over Limestone at Washington.

“It’s a great honor. I’m very humbled by it,” Stanton said. “I just think that award represents our program over the years … the past players and coaches for sure who set the foundation for what it is now.

“I’ve been a small piece of U High soccer. It has a long, rich tradition and I’m happy to be a part of it. But the award truly goes out to the ex-players and coaches who made this happen.”

U High is 19-6 this season heading into the regional finals. Stanton ranks the players the past three years among the best in school history.

“A lot of successful teams have gone through U High. This group coming through right now, you could argue they’ve been the most successful of any of the groups just based on what they’ve done,” Stanton said.

“We counted up the other day and in the last 78 games we’ve only lost 13. With the schedule we play and everything, it’s been a great run by these guys.”

In announcing the honor, U High athletic director Wendy Smith said it recognizes “the positive work Coach Stanton has done with the athletes in our program.”

Follow Randy Kindred on Twitter: @pg_kindred

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Sports Editor

Sports editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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