“Texas coaches understand education and academics are not the same thing”
Quote from Coach Melton of Americas High School that, I think, hit the nail on the head. Most schools nationwide have lost sight of that simple truth. Too many schools have become testing factories that only care about the bottom line of meeting standardized testing benchmarks and have sacrificed anything that doesn’t work towards improving government mandated statistical benchmarks. The ancient Greeks believed the three sides of the education triangle included academic, spiritual and physical, and that a man was incomplete without all three. Coaches everywhere understand this, but in Texas, coaches have the political clout to fight the slide toward athletic mediocrity that has largely gutted many other public school systems.
So far, public support and the power of the THSCA have generally been successful in resisting state efforts to sacrifice athletics, but every coach I’ve talked to is worried about the general attitude the state government has towards public education. Here’s hoping Texans understand they have something special in its high school football and don’t let the politicians gut it.
I crossed into Texas yesterday and sat down with Pat Melton at Americas High School and this morning with Scott Brooks at Canutillo High School. Both coaches took unsuccessful programs and have had some success in turning them around. And both, I felt, were realistic about the obstacles faced by teams in the far west part of the state. They are just so isolated out here. Coaches who bounce around from job to job in the rest of the state rarely take jobs out here and conversely local coaches don’t have an incentive to venture out once they’ve climbed the El Paso coaching ladder. Both Brooks and Melton said there were some great players in the region but agreed the demographics of El Paso make it tough to compete with other parts of the state.
-It’s clear this area doesn’t budget athletics at the same level as the rest of the state. The facilities are outstanding compared to most of the country, but not up to the standard of the rest of the state.
-While the teams from the far west struggle in the state playoffs, they still benefit from the same athletic policies that make Texas football so outstanding. On campus coaches who all teach year round athletic periods. I believe this is the most important factor in the quality of Texas football and it is a situation that is largely unique to Texas. In most states, assistant coaches are often off campus volunteers and even when they do teach, they usually have little day to day contact with the team during the off season.
-This hiring and staffing policy means Texas teams are going to be generally better coached than teams elsewhere.
-Maybe coming from the desert west myself, I’m a little biased, but I find this area prettier than I expected. I had a nice little hike today to the top of the Wyler Aerial Tramway. Great views of El Paso and Cuidad Juarez. Going to be a while until I see another mountain.
-Tomorrow, I’m headed towards San Antonio for the THSCA clinic, coaching school and all-star game. I understand there are usually 15,000 coaches in attendance.
New Weight room at Americas, just finished this year.
New blue turf at Canutillo
From the top of the mountain,,,looking at downtown El Paso and across the river into Mexico.