Baylor’s Briles voices pride in his high school roots

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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NCAA rules prohibited NCAA Division I coaches from giving lectures at the 82nd annual Texas High School Coaches Association state convention, but Hall of Honor inductee Art Briles was the exception on Wednesday’s final day.

“The NCAA would have had to handcuff me and pull me out if they didn’t want me to be here because I was coming,” said Briles, who has led Baylor football since 2008. “I’m proud to be called a Texas high school coach. I take great pride.”

Briles spent 21 years in the in the high school ranks, including his last 12 at Stephenville where the Yellow Jackets used dozens of offensive schemes and alignments to win four Class 4A titles from 1993 to 1999.

“Things tend to trickle up,” Briles said. “Whatever high schools are doing, the colleges are going to do it, and then the NFL’s going to do it.

“The reason is in high school you’re coaching what walks through that door. If Johnny walks through that door and he can’t run, you better find a place for him. You guys find a way to make it work, and that’s why it’s so innovative and that’s why it helps us.”

Shortly after his 7 1/2-minute speech, Briles hopped a waiting plane to Bristol, Conn., and a taping at ESPN.

Always a Panther

Ervin “Cat” Garnett, a 1946 graduate of Fort Worth’s I.M. Terrell High School who led the Panthers to the 1944 football state finals in the Prairie View Interscholastic League, was also inducted.

Garnett, 86, coached Wichita Falls Booker T. Washington to a 1960 PVIL football championship. He also coached a state-championship track team at Calvert in 1950.

In 1953 and ’54 at Abilene Woodson, he fielded back-to-back football teams with 13 players on each squad, and those teams reached a PVIL final and semifinal.

“We didn’t have feeder programs like you have now,” Garnett said. “We had to take the kid whether he was ninth grade, 10th, 11th, 12th, whatever. If he was warm under the arm pits, we’d take him. Consequently, we did some pretty good work and I’m proud of all of them.”

Garnett remained as an administrator in the Wichita Falls district through integration, and retired in 1989 to return to Fort Worth.

New location

The 2015 THSCA convention returns to Houston for the first time since 2004. Coaches school has rotated between Fort Worth and San Antonio the past four years, but the convention is scheduled for San Antonio in 2016 and Houston in 2017.

Eric Zarate, 817-390-7237 Twitter: @zarate_eric

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