Brian Coats: Texas Football Magazine always a treat | Secondary school

From BRIAN COATS Special to the Tribune-Herald

Good morning, loyal reader. While the observant among you have noticed my byline on this sports site from time to time, a brief introduction is probably in order.

I’m Brian Coats. I work full-time as a senior pastor at Central Christian Church (you probably know us from our pumpkins), but my part-time job is for the Trib’s athletic department. Before another lifetime (in the 1990’s) I was a full-time sportswriter, but around the year 2000 we all survived the year 2000 and I followed God’s call to my life to be of service.

After ministering a few churches in the Houston area, we moved to Waco in 2012 (goodbye, traffic!) and around that time I emailed Brice Cherry and started writing occasionally for the Trib.

For several years it was pretty much just high school football games (at last count I think I’ve been to 23 press boxes in the central Texas area), but lately I’ve been helping out with some high school spring sports.

This year I even had a sort of “beat” on physical education at McLennan Community College. Talk about athletic excellence – the Highlanders are basically the JUCO standard in every sport they play.

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Anyway, I’m giving you this background because you’re going to need it in a moment. The reason I’m breaking the fourth wall and coming straight to you this morning is because it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

Around mid to late June, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine will be published. I eagerly check the end caps at the grocery store each year and pick up a copy while they’re still hot off the press. The 2022 cover, featuring Joey McGuire, now Texas Tech coach who Baylor fans are quite familiar with, and USTA coach Jeff Traylor, was posted to social media just a few weeks ago.

My collection of Texas football magazines outnumbers my press compartments by about eight. On a bookshelf in our home in Woodway are 31 issues dating back to 1992. Nothing stopped me from continuing my streak.

When we lived in Utah for two years while my wife was in grad school, I ordered copies through the mail. Those were pre-internet days, so I think I actually wrote the Texas Football editors. Hell, I even bought the mag when Longhorns were on the cover (Texas A&M class of ’94, btw).

This Sunday is Father’s Day.

For many years my father, Dick Coats, and I went hunting for a brand new “Dave Campbell’s” (as he called it). We rushed home with the excitement of two children at Christmas, sat on the couch and started turning the pages side by side. After seeing where they picked up my alma mater, Midland Lee, to finish her in the old 4-5A, Dad sought out Cross Plains High School, his alma mater. The buffalo weren’t usually picked that high. sorry dad

Dad passed away in 2011 and although I miss him every day, Father’s Day is probably what I think of him the most. Now back to writing for the trib. Although I wasn’t lucky enough to ever meet him before he died last December, Dad would have enjoyed it enough for me to work in Dave Campbell’s world, albeit marginally, occasionally and as a side hustle.

He read his opening column each year and chuckled at the wisdom and humor that unearths all of the state’s compelling football stories. Those are really nice memories.

I guess the point of this column is to express my deep gratitude for how lucky I was. Let’s use the word “blessed” instead (see my daily work). It was such a blessing to meet Brice, Rod Aydelotte, John Werner, Chad Conine, Steve Boggs and all the other people who work so tirelessly to get the Trib – the newspaper Dave Campbell, who served as sports editor for many years – out every day . An editorial while I have your attention: Local journalism still matters, folks, and has deep value — now more than ever.

It has also been a blessing to meet trainers throughout central Texas. I’ve covered 6-man through 6A, and 99.9 percent of the coaches at every school, level, and sport are always gracious enough to have a few minutes with that roving Johnny Come Late reporter, never mind whether they just won or just lost.

Almost everywhere they are kind and considerate, and although they are fiercely competitive, they keep an eye on things. Without always knowing who I am from the man in the moon, they often bring up questions of faith. They’re also very funny and brimming with wisdom themselves (like Dave Campbell). Lots of really good salt-of-earth guys.

Actually, I’m more than blessed to be able to spend time in Dave Campbell’s world. As my magazine collection attests, it’s basically a dream come true. However, whether it’s other journalists, coaches, or athletes, it’s all the people of central Texas — with their good character, strong work ethic, and love of everything — Texas and all — sports — who offer the greatest blessing.

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