Ted Brevelle’s legacy is visible wherever you go throughout the Grapevine-Colleyville school district.
• The renovated and expanded Mustang-Panther Stadium and press box were done under his watch.
• Cross Timbers Middle School welcomed a new competition track.
• The creation of a swimming program and natatorium were realized.
• He hired the first coaching staff when Colleyville Heritage High School opened in 1996.
For the generations of student athletes, coaches and fans who frequent these facilities, they may not know who Brevelle was. But if it wasn’t for Brevelle’s commitment, it’s unclear if or when the GCISD would have had these facilities.
Actions spoke louder than words.
The GCISD family lost a high school athletics pioneer on June 18, when Brevelle passed away following a lengthy illness. He would have been 75 on July 11.
Although it had been 12 years since Brevelle retired, he became a fixture at district sporting events. He attended his last when Colleyville Heritage played Hebron in the Class 5A Region I bi-district baseball playoffs on May 2.
While the quality of Brevelle’s life declined in recent years, the quality of his work reflected his career. He produced results and left the district far better than when he found it.
“The Monday before he died, he was unconscious,” said lifelong friend Maxie Hays, who grew up with Brevelle in Oakdale, La., and worked for him in the district for another 14 years. “I stood by the bed and was rubbing his arm and shoulder, and I thought he would die twice. He was not a hugger, but a hand-shaker. It was tough seeing your friend going away. I had the utmost respect for him. I was under his wing for 14 years. I looked at him as a hero.”
When he arrived in 1987, Brevelle stabilized a district rocked by the controversial departure of then-head football coach and athletic director Mark Saunders. The district separated the athletic director from the head football coach. Given his reputation of being someone who was principled in every walk of life, Brevelle was exactly what the district needed.
Brevelle’s fairness made him popular with his coaches. Any reasonable request a coach made, Brevelle did everything within his authority to make it happen. Coaches knew they didn’t have to make an appointment to see him about anything. Brevelle kept his door open.
But I learned more about him after Brevelle passed away. Every message to me from coaches who worked for him included, “Good man.” “I respected him.” “You knew where you stood with him.”
“He was a genuine person,” former Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage assistant Bill Simon said. “I remember in our meetings before the school year started, he said he wasn’t worried about the wins or losses. He wanted us to take care of our business in the classroom. That was him. He wanted us to help kids be better students. That really stuck with me.”
Brevelle’s evenhanded personality stood out in the years leading up to Colleyville Heritage’s opening. While the naming of the stadium may not have seemed like a big deal, it was. Brevelle impressed upon the Grapevine coaches that they had to recognize the new stadium name, Mustang-Panther Stadium. Everybody was in this together. A divided family could not stand.
Of course, the signature athletic events were Grapevine winning state championships in boys Class 5A soccer in 1990 and Class 4A football state championships in 1996 and 1998. Colleyville Heritage won the girls state soccer championship in 1999.
While I got to know Brevelle for a little bit early in my reporting career (the early 1990s), I could not appreciate what he meant to a district that experienced so much change. People like Hays and Simon did.
Timing is everything. Brevelle arrived in Northeast Tarrant County at the right time. While the buildings share his story, the relationships offered more.
Brevelle loved watching people coach and understood the value of competitive athletics and the growth of young people, both Hays and Simon said.
“People will look back 15 years and see the improvements in the school system,” Hays said. “But everything he did was through dignity and ethics. You don’t get much better than that.”
It would be proper for the district to recognize Brevelle in some way. “Ted Brevelle Field at Mustang-Panther Stadium” seems appropriate.