The past two days in San Antonio, over 12,000 coaches from around the state attended this convention of the oldest and most influential state association in the country in San Antonio. As the title of this piece indicates, this event has multiple purposes; training coaches to recognize concussions in their players, teaching coaching skills, X’s and O’s; not just for football, but all UIL sanctioned sports is just part of what happens. Recruiting and electing new officers to run the association, communicating with the media, letting far-flung coaches from different corners of the state network and organizing and putting on all-star games for both football and basketball are all a part of this event.
One coach I spoke with called the THSCA the “Strongest political association in Texas.” Whether this is the case or not, there is no question the THSCA is a large reason Texas high school athletics have continued to thrive while much of Texas education has suffered. I think it would surprise most people that less than 2% of state money allocated to education goes to athletics. I agree with the UIL official to put out that stat, where else are you going to find that kind of bang for the buck?
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of play during the all-star game. Football all-star games are probably the toughest to stage in a meaningful way. The players are often out of shape and have little motivation to put in the discipline and sacrifice needed to play the sport at a high level. From a coaching standpoint, the offense you can install in a week is very limited and from a fan standpoint, its hard to really care who wins.
I once had the privilege (?) of coaching in Northern Nevada’s all-star game. It was a lot of fun working with the best of the graduating seniors from our local schools, but most of the kids had been out of training for months and were playing the last organized football game they would ever be a part of. In recent years, the all-stars of Northern Nevada have also begun to realize they didn’t need to worry about consequences for unsportsmanlike behavior and several games have had to be called early because of brawls between the players.
The Texas players are mostly preparing for college football careers and it showed. With a state this large and with so many talented players, the bar is set very high for the players and coaches to qualify to be a part of this event. The players on the team were tremendously talented.
That said, typical of all-star football games, the play was sloppy at times, with many missed exchanges and botched assignments and not much drama overall. The North squad looked to have better overall speed and depth and dominated the play, with the South only managing to score on the final plays of both halves.
Final Score: 30-16 North
Next, I’ll take a few days off to enjoy San Antonio, during my wife’s visit, then I’m off to meet with Coach Jackson at La Marque.