Mike Jinks, who has built a football state power at Steele High School in six seasons, told Kens5.com on Thursday afternoon that he has withdrawn his application for the head coaching job at Judson.
"I did some research and there is no doubt that the Judson High School football job is one of the best in the country, but it isn't the best job for Mike Jinks at this point in my life," Jinks said. "Judson always will be special to me, and I have the utmost respect for everybody associated with the school. It's still a special community."
Jinks, a 1990 Judson graduate who played quarterback on the Rockets' varsity for three seasons, called Judson ISD athletic director Mike Miller on Thursday morning to withdraw his name from consideration for the position that became vacant when Jim Rackley announced his retirement last week.
"I didn't want to go through the process and not be sure of what I wanted to do," Jinks said. "I want them to get the best person for the job. I'm not saying I was their guy, but now Judson knows where I stand."
Judson defensive coordinator Mark Soto, a former Judson teammate of Jinks, was named the Rockets' interim head coach after Rackley stepped down. Soto, 39, graduated from Judson in 1991. He has been the Rockets' defensive coordinator since 2005 and also has been assistant head coach the past five seasons.
Speculation linking Jinks to the Judson job began almost immediately after Rackley announced his retirement Jan. 3. Jinks, who coached at Judson under D.W. Rutledge during the 1997-98 school year, would have been considered the front-runner to succeed Rackley if he hadn't withdrawn.
Jinks, head coach at Steele since the Cibolo school opened in 2005, guided the Knights to the Class 5A Division II state title in 2010 and the 5A Division II title game last season. Steele is 63-16 in six varsity seasons under Jinks, who turns 40 next month.
"This is where I want to be," Jinks said. "Steele is in my heart. In order to make a jump into something like that, going from here to Judson, you have to be 100 percent into it. You have to feel it in your heart, and I'm just not ready to leave yet.
"If and when I do ever leave, I donb't want to have any regrets. That wouldn't have been the case if I had left Steele now. I love the kids here. I love the school and I love the community. We've built something special in a short time."
Steele has won 28 of its last 29 games
The Knights won the state championship in only their fifth varsity season, finishing 14-2 after stumbling to a 1-2 start.
Jinks made history as the first African American coach to lead a San Antonio area football team to a University Interscholastic League state title.
Steele was expected to slip a little in 2011 after losing five seniors to Football Bowl Subdivision schools, including U.S. Army All-America running back Malcolm Brown, but the Knights went 15-0 before falling to Spring Dekaney 34-14 in the state final last month.
The loss snapped Steele's 28-game winning streak, which tied for the longest in San Antonio area history with Judson.
"I'm very excited about next season," Jinks said. "Our kids are taking finals this week, so we really haven't gotten into our offseason program yet. Monday will be our first full day with them. I didn't want the kids to come in wondering whether I was going to be still be their head coach.
"We will begin working to become the best team we can be. I think we're going to have the best group collectively, sophomores, junior and seniors, that we've ever had since the school opened. We have a chance to be good, but we have a lot of work ahead of us."
The deadline for applying for the Judson is Friday, with interviews expected to begin late next week or early the following the week.