Ending my career as principal of Austin Community Academy High School (ACAHS) has brought forth many memories of the past. I started teaching at Austin when it was only called Austin High School in 1976. I taught mathematics to the ninth- through 12th-graders. I began coaching in 1978.
My first coaching assignment came when the track coach had to leave for some reason and some of the students who ran track were in my mathematics class. I had never coached before, but they knew how I ran my class with respect and order. They encouraged me to request that position and I did.
I had to virtually go back to school, because if I was to coach track, I would have to do as my Momma always says, “If you are going to do it, do it well, or don’t do it at all.” Those words are always present when situations occur. I went to coaches clinics, read books, and sought the wisdom of successful coaches.
Before the end of the ’78-’79 school year, the varsity football coach, Lloyd Norman, asked me to take over the frosh-soph football program. Boy, I did not go to school to be a coach, but I did use this opportunity to raise young men. By raising young men, I am referring to developing commitment, being responsible, working as a team, having pride in your people and yourself. If you make a mistake, don’t seek excuses for the mistakes-learn what caused the mistake and work hard to not repeat it.
Those young men who ran track and field and played football were the soldiers/warriors of Austin. They were the ones to go out and do battle in the name of the school. Whatever they did, it reflected on themselves, the school, and the coach. They were conditioned to depend upon each other and to hold up your own responsibility. As my reward for this endeavor (I never took a championship, yet I had champions), over 95 percent of the student athletes who came through our program graduated from high school.
My heart was enlightened when I came to the 1981-1984 class reunion. I saw some of the young men who played football and ran track for me. They had grown up to be fine young men. They were either married, working, or owned their own business. I was a proud “father!”
Now that Austin Community Academy High School, as we know it now by name will come to an end June 30, 2007 and will be called Austin Campus, I had a strong urge to see all of my sons, and daughters who participated in sports during my tenure as a coach. This would be a time to network, hear about what they plan on doing, and allow the rhythm and beats of our music to move and groove us through the evening.
Princpal, Austin Career Academy
See Across Austin for event details