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Top of the Heapby: John Gallup
Editor and Publisher
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The two Texas high schools couldn’t be more different.
Stamford High School, located in the small town of the same name in the west central part of the state, has a total enrollment of less than 200. Virtually every male student participates in the football program on one of their three squads. The town’s population, which hovers around 3,000, has seen a steady decline in the last few decades – like many towns in remote rural areas.
Allen High School in suburban Dallas boasts an enrollment of over 5,000 students. Located in one of the fastest-growing areas in Texas, Allen’s population of 85,000+ is four times greater than it was 20 years ago. The town’s affluence has allowed it to provide state-of-the-art facilities for its school system, including a much-discussed $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium which opened last year.
Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see that they have a common denominator in football. Each team receives tremendous support from their community. Their home games are major events. And both Stamford and Allen made it through the punishing marathon of the Texas high school playoffs to capture state titles in Cowboys Stadium last December.
For Allen Coach Tom Westerberg and Stamford Coach Wayne Hutchinson, two coaches from vastly different schools, the reasons they credit for their teams’ success are surprisingly similar. Senior leadership, team chemistry and poise in the face of adversity are themes that come through.
What do other state champion coaches say about the factors that led to their titles? Are there common characteristics that every coach should try to work into his program to increase his chances of winning a state title?
Each year, we survey head coaches of high schools that are current state champions. The number is well over 300, since every state has more than one champion and a few have over 20. Our goal is simple – to collect, compile and share information about state champion coaches and their teams to assist and inspire other coaches in their quest to share in the championship glory. Inside this issue, we present the survey results and also profile five different champion teams and coaches.
The statistics about coaches and teams are interesting, but it’s the personal stories coaches share with us that have the most meaning. Whether it’s Stamford High School winning a championship that delighted their small town, Allen christening their new stadium with a title, the small school in Washington State whose stadium burned to the ground in September or any of dozens of other stories from winning coaches, we’ve found that state champions usually have as much going on behind-the-scenes as they do on the field.
At AFM, our content is dependent on the willingness of football coaches to share information with others in the coaching community. Xs and Os are important, but so are coaching philosophy and off-the-field strategies that can inspire a team to win. So thank you to all the 2012 State Champion coaches that participated in our survey and told us the stories of their championship seasons. We salute your success on and off the field.
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