Back in December, Grapevine baseball coach Steve Hutcherson was attempting to hire a pitching coach when several contacts and administrators encouraged him to reach out to former NFL quarterback Tommy Maddox.
Maddox, the league’s 2002 Comeback Player of the Year after he led the Pittsburgh Steelers to the playoffs, played parts of nine seasons with five NFL teams from 1992 to 2005.
When Hutch called me and offered the job, I jumped at the chance.
Tommy Maddox, on accepting the Grapevine assistant’s job under head coach Steve Hutcherson
“I have always wanted to coach and obviously it needed to be the right situation,” said Maddox, a 1989 graduate of Hurst L.D. Bell, where he was a baseball, football and basketball star. “When Hutch called me and offered the job, I jumped at the chance.”
Maddox, who also played in the Arena Football League (2000) and won a 2001 XFL title with the Los Angeles team before that league folded after one season, has been a baseball coach for five years.
“I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been and how much respect and appreciation I have for the opportunity,” Maddox said. “I’ve learned more from Hutch in the past couple of months than I did at many other levels.”
It seems as though Grapevine’s pitchers have learned something, too. The staff took a 1.60 ERA into the playoffs, and the Mustangs have allowed just 24 total runs in 13 playoff games.
Hutcherson is impressed with the former QB’s knowledge of America’s pastime.
“I was like everybody else in knowing that his football knowledge was well-established, but as we talked I realized he had a good baseball background too,” Hutcherson said. “It was a pretty simple decision because I knew he was going to be good for our players, but more so he was going to be good for our pitchers.
One of the biggest things he brought to our team is a balance. Sometimes the head coach can be kind of grouchy, but he’s been a good balance for us in that role.
Grapevine head coach Steve Hutcherson, on assistant Tommy Maddox
“He jumped right in and has been on board with what we’re trying to do here every step of the way. One of the biggest things he brought to our team is a balance. Sometimes the head coach can be kind of grouchy, but he’s been a good balance for us in that role.”
Senior outfielder/pitcher Kyle Flamm, who will finish his Grapevine career having played under three head coaches, said Maddox has had a calming effect on the entire staff.
“We have a lot more confidence for sure,” said Flamm, who’s 8-1 and has a .385 batting average. “He’s one of the most knowledgeable coaches I’ve ever had, and with his background, he clearly knows how to get a group of guys to do what needs to be done. He’s one of the most positive guy’s I’ve ever played for.”
Once Grapevine completes its baseball season, Maddox will shift focus to football as the running backs coach on head coach Randy Jackson’s staff.
“I’ll be ready for that too,” Maddox said. “One of the things I always liked was a coach might get on me, but I always liked the ones that had a positive approach to helping me develop.
“For me, I want to build kids up and that doesn’t mean you don’t get on them or correct something that isn’t right, but you don’t beat a kid down.”