The Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas held the kickoff for Fox Sports Southwest Texas Football Days. Local sports radio shows, ”Unnecessary Roughness” and ”You Make The Call” were live and Fox Sports SW was passing out shirts and hats. The event featured an array of who’s who in the world of Texas High School Football, including the legendary founder of the annual magazine “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football”, Mr. Dave Campbell.
The press conference was held in the Tom Landry room and featured a panel of Texas Sports HOF members. Greg Tepper of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine was asking questions to the Hall of Fame line up, before letting the crowd ask questions. The panel included Tracy Saul, Quan Cosby, D.W. Rutledge, Dr. Charles Breithaupt, Ken Purcell, Chad Conine, and Mr. Dave Campbell.
The questions flowed for about an hour and the interaction between the group of Hall of Fame members and the audience was very engaging. There was serious conversations on the growth of High School football in Texas and there were moments of laughter with stories of old equipment compared to modern technology.
The conversation began with a question about the role Texas High School football coaches play in the lives of their players. D.W. Rutledge replied by saying, “In our society today, we have an epidemic of fatherless homes. One of the things I’m proud of is that our coaches step up and stand in the gap to replace that. You can ask around and a vast majority of people who have played sports, especially football in high school, will tell you how important the coach was in their lives.”
Dr. Breithaupt, president of the UIL, was asked about speaking to coaches in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and what they were doing to help the kids. Dr. Breithaupt replied by saying,
“The goal of these coaches is to worry about their kids and the safety of their kids, it’s not about football right now.”
Dave Campbell spoke on how Texas high school football can bypass barriers brought about in other factions of life and unify communities in the process. This is something that can also correlate with Hurricane Harvey and how no matter what your personal beliefs or views might be, helping thy neighbor is what’s most important.
Quan Cosby gave an in depth description of life as a player from a small school compared to players he met in college and the NFL that weren’t from Texas. Quan said
“growing up in Mart… nobody’s perfect, we all bleed red but sometimes we forget that. On game days we all bleed purple and even after moving to multiple states, no matter where I was I made my way to watch a high school football game.”
Tracy Saul followed with his experience growing up in the small West Texas town of Idalou. Tracy spoke on the importance of community and how
“The community expects so much out of the kids and it’s not necessarily just to win on Friday nights, but to act the right way and do the right things.”
Ken Purcell discussed how playing high school football helps kids build their character. Coach Purcell explained ,
“There is a difference between teaching kids X’s and O’s and loving kids. We taught things like discipline, pride, poise, class, accountability and decision making skills.”
Chad Conine spoke about the growth of high school football in the state of Texas and if there could possibly be any negative impact on the quality of the game. One of the ongoing issues football faces is concussions and players finding other sports to play to avoid them.
“There are probably parents out there that don’t want their kids to play high school football because of the issues that have come up. The game continues to grow because kids fall in love with it at an early age and they want to play.” He went on to explain how coaches have improved their technical skills with proper tackling and concussion awareness, where the game was lacking in the past.
Once the floor was open for questions TexasHSFootball.com asked, With all of the talk on expansion and growth in high school football, has a plan been put in place to address the referee shortage?
This question was addressed by Dr. Breithaupt who said,
“That’s a good question, because we have the greatest high school football in the country and the greatest high school coaches in the country, but we don’t have the greatest officiating. We don’t have a shortage on Friday nights for the big games, but we do for the small games. You have some chapters that will assign 6 or 7 man crews to their 6A or 5A games and it leaves nobody for the smaller games, so that’s an issue we have to face. The main shortage is on Thursday nights for junior high or JV games because a lot of those guys don’t want to call them. We believe it’s important for our schools to really work hard to recruit their former players, because those are the guys that need to be involved in the game because they know and understand the game.”
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