By now, if you are a Comanche Indian basketball fan you’ve discovered that there is a new guy in town. In fact, he’s sitting on the bench beside our players, and it’s time that someone told you who he is, right? That’s exactly what we thought so I picked a time and made the short trek out to CHS where I asked Coach Richard Pringle exactly that.
As it turns out, Coach Pringle came to Comanche from our next door neighbor, Dublin, where he has had a successful run the past few years, including carrying his Dublin Lions into the 2012 Regional finals. Now, he is a Comanche Indian.
“I’ve coached since 1994, and I really was not looking to make a move, but I’ve known Coach Hermesmeyer for a while now, and I just decided to branch out so here I am. Of course, I’ve coached against Comanche for the past 10 years so I was familiar with the program over here.”
And then he made me laugh by talking about how small Comanche is.
“I don’t have a kid over 6’2,” he told me with a serious face. Of course, I laughed, wondering just how many times the Indians HAD had a kid over 6’2.” From what I’ve seen, the town considers anyone over 6’2” a giant!
“Basketball wise, it is going to be different. Over the past 10 years, I have watched Comanche play a lot of zone, and we are going to be playing man to man. It’s going to be tough this year,” he went on. “We are small, and there is no one with any real varsity experience returning this year. That is going to really help us in the future, but right now, it will be tough.
“In my mind, if I can get them ready for district in mid January, we will be in really good shape. I pretty much know my team now, but I don’t really have a starting 5 yet. Right now, I know my 10, and we will use the first few games to see who the starters are.
“As a new coach, I’ve not seen much yet. We just left the football field and are getting our basketball legs. We are going to make mistakes, both the players and I, but we are going to work together, and we are going to get better.”
In addition to coaching basketball and teaching PE, Coach Pringle also teaches teen leadership, which seems to fit him and his philosophy of teaching.
“I also try to work in a lot of what is going on in the world,” he said. “Our kids are not always good at paying attention to the news, and there is so much going on right now that they need to know. We discuss this a lot.
“Both of my parents were educators for decades, and my dad was a football coach. Like them, I am in this business for the right reason…to help kids be successful. I try very hard to give these kids the chance to gain the confidence that they can be a success at whatever they try in life. I don’t think we have to win a state championship to do that, and I do know that there are many things more important that winning that state game.”
And then he grinned as I somehow already knew he would.
“Don’t get me wrong. We all want those gold footballs and basketballs, but I do keep my feet on the ground enough to realize what is really important in life. We spend a lot of our class time talking about the importance of education. I explain to them that, yes, there are multimillionaires who never spent an hour in a college class, but I also explain that those people are very, very few and far between. We work a lot on understanding that getting an education and being successful in life usually go hand in hand.”
So what are we going to see this year on the court?
“You’re going to see kids that are not polished. They are still making a lot of mistakes, but they are going to hustle and play extremely hard. Our goal is to get better and better every game as we prepare for our district season. My goal is for us to get better every game until we reach district play.
“I have kids who play so hard; they are not big and not fast but what is inside their hearts is unbelievable. They make the most out of what they have been given and their work ethic is outstanding. You have to love kids like that.”
Yes, sir, you do. Why do you think I spend so much time with them? And while I would like to believe that Comanche, Texas has the best kids in the universe, that simply is not true. However, what Comanche does have is some educators who are dedicated to bringing out the very best that their kids have to offer, and that, my friends, makes all the difference.