SHINER - Steven Cerny knew on career day in elementary school that he wanted to be a coach.
Comanches head coach Steven Cerny directs a player in a drill during practice in Shiner on October 22, 2012. photos by Morgan Walker, Victoria Advocate
"All I know is that I wanted to coach my entire life," the Shiner coach said. "I've got two brothers in coaching ahead of us. It's born in me, and I love it."
After playing baseball at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Cerny applied for the head baseball coach opening in 1988.
Shiner's defensive coordinator, Billy Turek, said Cerny came with many recommendations, but he knew the Sealy native was a good choice right away.
"I knew when we hired coach Cerny, we hired a good, young and excellent coach," Turek said. "After just a few days here, we knew we had a real good coach."
Cerny said he was excited for the opportunity to coach in a community with a rich athletic tradition like Shiner.
"My first truck I bought before I started here was a Jeep Comanche - a black pickup truck," Cerny said, laughing. "It's kind of crazy."
Patterning his coaching style after his two brothers (one retired from Taylor High School in Katy, and the other coaches baseball at Bellville) and also coach Turek, Cerny has attempted to keep the system consistent over the years.
"For what we do here and how we get it done has stayed the same, it started with coach Turek. All I've tried to do is just keep the program going and continue the tradition he established," Cerny said.
Cerny said he had positive coaches growing up who also lent a hand in his style. The biggest positive force has been Turek, he said.
"I had a great role model right there to teach me," he said. "I really copied a lot of his traits, and he's been very helpful to me."
Shiner coach Steven Cerny points to a player during practice in Shiner on October 22, 2012.
Coaches have their hands in pretty much every sport at many Class 1A schools, and Shiner is no different.
Cerny has been heavily involved with the junior high football program, the JV and varsity since he started.
"We run the same system; it's very important that the same thing gets taught in the junior high on up to the high school," Cerny said. "Being a young coach when I got here, it was the best way to learn. Things move a little slower, you learn the basics, and that's where it all starts."
Watching the players develop from first-time players to dominating forces on the field is part of the magic of coaching.
"You see your kids develop, and it has to start in seventh and eighth grade, or you're not going to have those players develop when they're in high school," he said.
Cerny's attention to detail is what sets him apart, Turek said.
"He takes everything really seriously, and he wants to make sure everything is perfect," Turek said. "He makes sure there is nothing he has forgotten that would be important in the ball game."
Tight end Caleb Kalich calls Cerny a fun coach to play for.
"He's never negative; he finds a way to work through and go to the next game and get better at it," Kalich said. "We had a slow start, but now, we're playing for state. It's something that definitely should be credited to him."
CLASS 1A, DIVISION I State Championship
• WHAT: Shiner (11-3) vs. Stamford (13-1)
• WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
• WHEN: 10 a.m. Thursday
• TV: Fox Sports Southwest
• Tickets: Ticketmaster.com
The Comanches won their first game of the season but lost the next two. Cerny is not one to harp on their losses.
"You have your days when things go bad, but you can't dwell on it," Cerny said. "I tell them that I'm going to make mistakes, too; there's no doubt about it. We just have to move on and not keep making the same mistakes over and over."
"He pushes you to make you a better player - he does it the right way," Kalich said. "That's what makes it fun, he doesn't push you too hard ever. That's what you want when you play football. You want the team to really play for you."
Coaching in Shiner for the entirety of his career has been a good thing, Cerny said. His brothers stayed at their schools for multiple decades, too.
"We're all lucky to get in good places," he said. "I'm never looking or thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. You have to look at what got you here and the positives. It's a great place for my family."
Both of Cerny's children are in Shiner ISD - his daughter is a seventh-grader, and his son is on the JV football team as a ninth-grader.
In his third trip to state in 26 years, Cerny knows he will have to treat this like any other ball game.
"We have to play the game because that's what it's all about. It is us on that football field, taking care of business," he said.