Former NFL player named Po-Hi football coach

February 10, 2024 | Sports

PONCA CITY — Former National Football League linebacker, Justin Roland is expected to be confirmed as the new head football coach of the Ponca City Wildcats, at the school board meeting.

Roland has been a football coach in the district for over a decade. He has worked as defensive coordinator since 2016 and was named interim football coach for the district in October 2023 when head coach Scott Harmon was dismissed. (see story)

Roland, a 2004 graduate of Ponca City High School is also the district’s head wrestling coach. He was named interim wrestling coach in 2020 after then coach Jared Daniel Wynn was arrested. (see story)

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be head football coach for Ponca City Public Schools,” said Roland. “I look forward to the hard work ahead.”

Superintendent Adam Leaming said, “When we started looking at the future of our football program, it didn’t take long to see who checked every box on our list of wishes for the future coach. It’s no secret Justin is a kid magnet. He’s respected by his players, the community, and is a defensive genius. Having a coach who can inspire youth to new levels of productivity is a special talent. Justin is a natural encourager, strategic in his scheming and knows how to get more out of each player put in front of him.”

“Watching Justin in our hallways, on the field, and in our community, it’s clear he’s ready for the pressures and challenges of coaching in a 6A football environment. Coach Turner and I have each thoroughly enjoyed Justin’s professionalism throughout last season and this off season.”

“Something special is happening with the culture of our football program, and I’m thrilled to watch Coach Roland grow a culture that makes our community excited to share in it on Friday nights in the fall,” said Leaming.

PCPS Athletic Director Joe Turner said, “Coach Roland brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and coach. I feel coach Roland is the perfect fit to lead our football program that will exemplify the Wildcat Way. I am excited and confident that Justin will continue to build upon the success the football program has experienced.” 

“This is a great day for our Wildcat family.” said Leaming. “I’m thrilled to see our positive momentum propel us forward. Please join me in welcoming Head Coach Roland. Let’s go Wildcats.”

Joe Turner, Roland, Adam Leaming.

As an athlete, Roland began wrestling as a freshman and finished his senior year at a state champion.  He was a member of two traditional state championships and two dual state championships.  While playing football for the Wildcats, Roland was named All-District three times.  He attended and played for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami. There he was a two-time NJCAA All-American. 

Roland then became a Kansas State University Wildcat and was a two-year starting linebacker and named to the honorable mention All-Big 12 team.

In 2008 he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. On Aug. 15, 2008, he ran an interception back for a touchdown during a game against the Carolina Panthers. In 2009 he signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Roland later signed with the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.