By Zach Duncan

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weldon Nelms has won two high school football championships while at Wimberley, but he’s best known around these parts for turning around Iowa Park’s football program almost two decades ago.

Now at Weatherford, Nelms will be returning to the area as the head coach for West Texas in the 77th annual Oil Bowl on June 14 at Memorial Stadium. Rowlett’s Doug Stephens will be the East Texas head coach.

“It’s really neat in a lot of special ways for me,” Nelms said Saturday. “I feel very fortunate and very honored to have the opportunity to come do this as a head coach and come back to Wichita Falls where I have a lot of kids and friends from this area.”

Nelms just finished up a 1-9 opening season at 5A Weatherford. Of his 238 career victories, 147 of those came from two different stints at Wimberley, which won 3A titles in 2005 and 2011. Nelms coached at Iowa Park from 1994-99, compiling a 38-30 record.

Stephens recently completed his first year as a head coach at Rowlett, where the Eagles went 4-7 and lost to Longview in the first round of the 5A playoffs. He had been an assistant at Southlake Carroll, Cedar Hill and Rockwall among others.

“Historically, who wouldn’t want to come here? It’s a great opportunity as a coach and also as a player,” Stephens said. “It’s a great experience not only for us, but the kids are going to have a blast.”

Joining Nelms on his staff are Hirschi’s Cody Slater at offensive coordinator and Keller Central’s Bart Helsley at defensive coordinator.

Slater, whose Huskies recently finished 7-4 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, played in the 1993 Oil Bowl after graduating from Olney.

“I feel honored to represent Wichita Falls and Hirschi High School in this game,” Slater said. “I’m very appreciative for them asking me to coach in it. To coach with legends like coach Nelms, it’s a great honor.”

The East assistant coaches are Bonham’s Cody Bounds at offensive coordinator and Muenster’s Brady Carney at defensive coordinator.

The 2014 Oil Bowl will be the second straight year the game will be played under the East Texas vs. West Texas format. Last year, East Texas won the game 22-17.

The Oil Bowl also announced Saturday it is partnering with the Nighthawks for promotional purposes and with Sports International Football Camps, who holds football clinics across the United States during the summer. Two offensive and defensive MVPs from camps in Texas will be chosen to participate in the Oil Bowl.