In the spring of 2007 as principal of Comanche High School, I was asked by the school board and superintendent to head a search committee to hire a new football coach.
With a background in coaching and ties to many of the coaches around the state it was requested that I seek out some of the most successful coaches in some of the most prominent programs and request recommendations on any coach that they thought would be a good fit for CHS.
I contacted the head coaches at places like, Southlake Carroll, Lubbock Monterey, Abilene High, and Brownwood to name a few. And then I decided to contact a couple of coaches at the college level. These guys are always busy and in high demand so I didn’t figure that I had a snowball’s chance in Hades of ever having a conversation with any of them…
On the Friday before we turned school out for spring break I left a message for Art Briles on his office phone at Baylor, never really expecting to hear from him. This was mainly because I knew that his time would be filled with spring practice preparation in a new job and that he would probably let his secretary take a message. How surprised was I when I arrived back in my office on the Monday morning following the break.
It was 7 A.M. and my phone was ringing as I walked through the door. When I answered, the voice on the other end said, “Good morning Ronnie, this is Art: how are you?” That started a 45 minute conversation about our past and how much fun the early years had been in our careers. Only the last five minutes of the conversation was devoted to the business part of the call.
Here is why I really like Coach Briles: he has been extremely successful at every stop in his coaching career. Because of what he accomplished at Stephenville High School, he has become a high school coaching legend. He then was an assistant at Texas Tech, head coach at the University of Houston and now Baylor…
The first game that I ever coached in: Aspermont vs. Rule 1971, he was the starting wingback and later quarterback for his father Dennis who was the head coach at Rule. I was an assistant at Aspermont. We later were head coaches at neighboring schools, he at Hamlin and me at Aspermont and then again when he was head coach at Stephenville and me at Comanche.
And now here was a busy coach taking an important hour out of his busy schedule to visit with me. The call could have been brief and left me feeling as if I had interrupted him, a man that I regard of great stature. But instead his conversation took me back to 1971 and led me on a fun-filled journey back to the present. He didn’t have to do that but he did. He made me feel as if I had been an important part of his life.
As he was closing the call he simply said to me, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we could go back and do it all over again because those days were so much fun”. I agreed and thanked him, this ultra-successful coach, for never forgetting who he was, where he came from, and for remembering all those friends and acquaintances along the way.
Now you know why I really like Art Briles! GO BEARS!