Currently ranked as the top rated prep team in Texas, DeSoto High School is undefeated with quality wins against both Trinity High School in Euless and Jenks in Tulsa. The head coach at DeSoto for the past five years, Claude Mathis has an overall record of 38-15 going into this season. Last year’s team finished 10-2 and averaged 46.6 points per game.
A high school star in Bartlett, TX, Mathis gained 2, 199 yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a junior. A two-time All-American (1996-97) and running back at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State), Mathis holds records for career rushing yards, single game and single season rushing yards and career touchdowns. In 1998, he was a reserve running back with the Minnesota Vikings but then turned to coaching when injuries shortened his career.
Mathis began his coaching career at Austin Anderson High School and then became head coach at Somerville. He followed that by being named head coach at Austin LBJ. In his first year, he led LBJ to its first playoff appearance in a decade and had a three year record of 21-15. Mathis became head coach at DeSoto in 2008 and has had four consecutive playoff appearances. DeSoto won 21 games over the last two seasons.
After the 2011 season, Mathis was selected as the new Running Backs Coach at the University of Houston under Head Coach Tony Levine. An assistant wide receivers coach at Southwest Texas State in 1997, Levine appointed Mathis to his staff in January. However, Mathis felt the ‘the timing was not right’ and he resigned in February. “It was a great opportunity but I felt it best for my family to stay in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area,” said Mathis.
The DeSoto head coaching position had not been filled – although there were more than 70 applicants – and Mathis was re-appointed to the position. The Board of Trustees voted 5-0 to authorize the superintendent to rescind Mathis’ resignation.
In 2011, Mathis was inducted into the Texas State Hall of Fame.