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axemm18

REMEMBERING COACH OUTLAW

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Coach Outlaw: The Man, The Leader

Im in disbelief and continue to be in shock as a I write this.

Over a decade ago in 1996 I was a college student at Stephen F. Austin State University when I first met John Outlaw.. All I knew about the man or thought about him was that he was simply another head football coach.

I was blessed with the opportunity to report, shoot, and anchor sportscasts locally at KTRE while I was a student at SFA. My 1st experience and impression of John Outlaw was that of a man who was prideful and had a genuine sense of pride in his student-athletes at Lufkin High School and it wasn't limited to his football players.

I remember my first story in 1997 was the rigors of recruiting in which the student-athlete endured.

Coach Outlaw knew I was a young man who was simply trying to get his feet wet and involve him.

I instantly hit it off well with him despite the rough exterior and concern he had for how his student-athletes were going to be portrayed in the public's eye.

From that point on I knew what type of man he was and what his expectations were. He treated me with the utmost respect, although he remained cautious of how he communicated with me. Made sense I was a green rookie type.

I left for San Angelo to jump into this career full time. I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to return to East Texas despite my passion to return to my hometown in Austin, TX eventually. Im not sure why, but East Texas was where I wanted to return to for my 2nd full time job as a sports anchor and reporter.

My wish was granted by Tina Alexander and KTRE after I communicated and expressed interested in possibly accepting positions in other cities like Lubbock, Waco, Tulsa, and other markets outside the state. Bryan Mays who was the #2 sports guy at KTRE was also an influence on me. He and I always made a reference to John Outlaw and the Lufkin football program and how "cool" it was to witness that program grow, mature, and develop due to John Outlaw and his loyal staff he had in place.

When I returned and was blessed with to return to East Texas, I could NOT wait to speak to Coach Outlaw in addition to the strong, loyal, and talented collection of East Texas high school football coaches.

My first full time season was 1999. Coach Outlaw and I spoke countless times every week mainly small talk but the conversation was more than just the stories I pursued involving his Panthers. I remember he and joked about how Reggie McNeal was given the keys to his offense before Reggie was legally old enough to drive a car.

Outlaw also made it clear that he did NOT want any video of his team the week leading up to the Nacogdoches game despite the lopsided nature of the "Oldest Rivalry in Texas."

Our relationship grew in ways I did not acknowledge until after the 2001 season, the magical Lufkin Panthers season in which the season gloriously ended in the Astrodome as 5A-II State Champs inside of the Astrodome after beating Austin Westlake. I truly became a fan that day and realized it. After that game, Coach Outlaw made it a point to all of the Houston media and to Fox Sports Southwest that he was going to talk to "his guys" Bryan Mays and me before anyone. I will never forget that.

I cannot remember my exact question but Coach Outlaw made an impression on me immediately by giving all credit to the City of Lufkin and the Panther Nation by pointing towards the stands of the Astrodome and saying "look at all those humans up there"! He was overwhelmed by the 40,000 plus in attendance that day and how the Lufkin Panther nation truly made an impact that day representing this proud program and supporting Coach Outlaw.

Since that December day in H-town, John Outlaw became more than another coach who I held a professional relationship with. I learned so much from him. Not only did he reach out and express his concern about my life and Bryan Mays' life, Outlaw talked about his beautiful wife Francie, his son Stephen, his desire for the young men in the Lufkin football program to become successful adults in life. He always told me about the special cups of coffee with Roy Knight and Dr. Sharp each morning throughout the week. I never attended, although I tried to set my alarm to do so, but those guys early starts to the day was too early for me. lol I knew that those men were more than just administrators to him, Sharp and Knight were best friends to Coach Outlaw.

Outlaw loved his hometown, Ozark, Arkansas. He glowed with pride in what he accomplished as the head coach in Arkadelphia, Arkanasas and in Sherman, Texas.

I quickly learned that Outlaw fell in love with Lufkin, Texas and East Texas. He expressed how special the people in Lufkin were and how special and unique the football family of Lufkin truly was. You see because of him the Lufkin Panthers were my Odessa Permian Panther program. The true defnition of what Texas high school football was all about.

As time passed and seasons passed, Coach Outlaw and I became such great friends. We had our ups and downs due to my position as a media member, but througout it all I felt we had a mutual respect for each other. As I learned about and became close to the numerous families directly linked with the Lufkin football program and Coach Outlaw, I felt the passion and respect for the man referred to as Coach "O"!

Past players, current, and future players were all loyal to the man mainly because he cared and painted pictures of a future for each them to succeed outside of football. In return each and everyone of his players were ALL IN and committed themselves to him, their coaching staff, and to the pride of Lufkin.

You see Outlaw's plan was to develop and devise a plan in which every young man in Lufkin would have an opportunity to succeed. Not all were able to suit up in the purple and gold and wear that purple helmet with the PACK logo, but they all knew and respected what Outlaw created.

One of the many memories that stands out was when Coach Outlaw voluntarily called me on my cell phone to just say thanks and that he appreciated a story I did on a player of his. He didnt have to do that, in fact nor did he have to time away from his busy schedule to make an effort to reach out to me. That simply relects the type of person I am trying to describe and properly honor.

I moved on from Lufkin after the 2006 season to Oklahoma City, but maintained my relationship with Coach Outlaw. We mainly communicated by email and by text messages. The exchanges ranged from concerns about my happiness, my personal life, and if I was okay.

To me that meant A LOT to me.. I remember Oklahoma State University head football coach Mike Gundy talking to me about how Coach Outlaw made the trip to Stillwater for a coaches convention just to see Dez Bryant and make sure he was doing well.

Each of the kids and young men Outlaw has coached glow with pride whenever you mention Coach Outlaw. Jamarkus McFarland, who is a defensive tackle at the University of Oklahoma, was all smiles whenever I was able to see him on the OU campus while covering the Sooners.

Today, is a tough one for me as it is for thousands across the nation. Coach Outlaw will be laid to rest. My eyes are welling up with tears as I write this.

You may not care about one word I write. Maybe Im just re-hashing what so many have already expressed about Coach Outlaw, but he had a special talent to make an impact on people. A gift to communicate and lead.

Honestly, I absorbed his words and watched from afar and from the outside how to guide and communicate and how to simply love the simple things in life.

One of Coach Outlaw's favorites was to put a cap on a day with a "cheeseburger and a miller light".

I continue to pray for each and everyone associated with Coach Outlaw, the city of Lufkin, and his family.

Shawn Clynch

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Thanks for the words Shawn.

I remember that report you made with Coach when the field turf was being installed and a huge August rain came blowing in - you all continued it under Abe, but both of you were a little concerned about the storm, but kept the tape rolling - very good memory.

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Shawn, simply put, Thank You for your words and thoughts. Hope you are continuing to do well, I can't believe it has been 5 years since your move to Oklahoma.

Your thoughts about John Outlaw are just a continued testament to the hundreds of other sentiments this weekend about the calibur of the man and influence he had on his Panther children and the Lufkin community he loved.

My life has about 14 years of memories about John Outlaw, while working with and helping to lead the Lufkin Sideliners. The mutual respect for his work that will influence me the remaining days of my life. I will never again put the "L" up and not think of John Outlaw.

Shawn appreciate your time here, Godspeed to you and your family.

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I usually don't respond to what people say on message boards but I had to this time. So much in what Shawn said about Coach O is right on and I know that everyone that knew Shawn knows that he is speaking from the heart.

Myself, I'm still just in shock that this has happened and I'm sure that the Lufkin community is asking themselves the same question.

Coach loved all his Children and all the people of the Panther Nation...

I can remenber back in the late 90's the Sheriff's Department always went out of town with the team so I can say that I've been around Coach through some good times and some bad times. I had that privilage to do that for about 10 years. I can still remember back in 2001 when the "The Pack won the state championship and it seems like there were 30,000 from the Lufkin in the Astrodome that day. Coach Outlaw was so proud of the Panther Nation for their support. I can also remember the 3 losses to Southlake Carroll in the Regional Finals. Those really tore Coach up because he was so disappointed that the fans came out and that the fans would have to go home disappointed.

Coach Outlaw ALWAYS thought about everyone else but himself.

I will always remember my last conversation with Coach. I recently took a job that I have wanted my entire life and on Wednesday of last week Coach called me and when I saw the call coming in I was wondering why Coach was calling. Coach said that he called me to congratulate me on the new job and that he was very proud for me and of course I said thanks and I started talking about football for next season and there was a long pause............Coach Outlaw said, ------ it Ricky, I did not call you talk football I called to Congratulate you and I want to leave it at that.

Anyway, Like Shawn its really hard to hold back tears as I write this but I just had to do it.

Coach Outlaw I will always remember you.....I Love You and will see you again.

Ricky Conner

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Shawn and Ricky,

Great comments and I have enjoyed yall's work.

God bless Coach and his Family and the Panther Nation.

Go Pack

PA Thanks for all the hard work over the years.

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To me their is a reason why it was named Abe Martin Stadium ,I personally dont agree with renaming the stadium. If and when the new stadium is built or true renovations made i would say Martin -Outlaw stadium. and until then John Outlaw field at Abe Martin stadium ...

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I agree with Pack Strong I would vote for ABE Martin Stadium at John Outlaw Field and write the John Outlaw Field on the Field like how OSU has Coach Eddie Sutton Court on it's B-ball floor.

GO PACK

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I dont think we should rename the stadium even though its obvious Coach Outlaw had a bigger impact. Wasnt Abe Martin only here 4 or 5 years? John Outlaw Field sounds great. I guess Coach Abe Martin was one of those coaches who used the job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

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I say if there is a new stadium in our future then name that one John Outlaw Stadium. But if not keep it Abe Martin and rename the field John Outlaw Field.

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I dont think we should rename the stadium even though its obvious Coach Outlaw had a bigger impact. Wasnt Abe Martin only here 4 or 5 years? John Outlaw Field sounds great. I guess Coach Abe Martin was one of those coaches who used the job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Not trying to start an arguement but how do you know that Coach Outlaw had a bigger impact then Martin ... Like ive said I have no idea why it was named Abe Martin but I believe he must have done some pretty special things to have the stadium named after him

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Not trying to start an arguement but how do you know that Coach Outlaw  had a bigger impact then Martin ... Like ive said I have no idea why it was named Abe Martin but I believe he must have done some pretty special things to have the stadium named after him

No way to really quantify "impact" but Coach Outlaw was in Lufkin 17 years as compared to 7 seasons for Abe Martin. The town and school are much bigger now (and integrated) so I imagine Coach Outlaw probably came in daily contact with more students. I was always under the assumption that the stadium was named for Martin because of the things he accomplished later in life. But you know what happens when you assume.

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A little Abe Martin Bio 101:

Othol Hershel "Abe" Martin (October 18, 1908 – January 11, 1979) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head coach at Texas Christian University from 1953 to 1966, compiling a record of 74–64–7. Martin was the athletic director at Texas Christian from 1966 to 1975.

After graduating from TCU in 1932, Martin began his coaching career at El Paso High School in 1934, where he won two district championships. In 1936, he moved across the state to coach at Lufkin High School, where he compiled a record of 66–10, with four district championships. He left coaching in 1943, but returned in 1944 to coach at Paschal High School in Fort Worth.

In 1945, he returned to TCU to coach football, and in 1953 was finally elevated to the head coaching position upon the retirement of Dutch Meyer. From 1953 to 1966, he coached the Horned Frogs to a 74–64–7 record, during which they appeared in the Cotton Bowl Classic three times, as well as the Sun Bowl and Bluebonnet Bowl once each. He coached seven All-Americans at TCU, including Jim Swink and Bob Lilly

Abe Martin coached in Lufkin from 1936-1942. His record at Lufkin was 66-10. Martin left Lufkin and coaching for one year just before the 1943 season started for personal reasons. His assitant coach Buck Prejean was named head coach just before the season and led the 1943 team to Lufkin's first State Championship game in the schools history against San Angelo. Lufkin played on December 24th in Waco, but lost 26-13. Although Abe Martin did not coach the 1943 team many in Lufkin said it was still Martin's team and the players played in his name that season.

His record at Lufkin, including the 1943 season, points scored and allowed:

1936 10-2-0 263-65 Abe Martin

1937* 10-1-0 351-31 Abe Martin

1938* 10-1-0 299-38 Abe Martin

1939 8-2-0 199-34 Abe Martin

1940 9-2-0 227-59 Abe Martin

1941 8-1-1 391-13 Abe Martin

1942* 11-1-0 407-54 Abe Martin

1943* 12-1-1 389-86 Buck Prejean

* District Champions

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No way to really quantify "impact" but Coach Outlaw was in Lufkin 17 years as compared to 7 seasons for Abe Martin. The town and school are much bigger now (and integrated) so I imagine Coach Outlaw probably came in daily contact with more students. I was always under the assumption that the stadium was named for Martin because of the things he accomplished later in life. But you know what happens when you assume.

Abe Martin was here 7 years and what he accomplished here as a football coach was the best ever up until the time the stadium we now call Abe Martin was built in 1973. My uncle, grandfather and mother all knew Mr. Martin or were at Lufkin High when he coached there, they talked alot about those times to me when they were living. He like Outlaw had great influence on the kids but mostly the ones on just one side of the tracks. Lufkin was about 5000 population at the time and media coverage was limited to mostly a newpaper or radio. Just a different time and different era all together. It has been 69 years since Abe Martin coached in Lufkin. Anyone that played for Abe Martin in 1942 and still living would be 85 or 86 today. I don't think we should forget his legecy and time in Lufkin. He and John Outlaw both left their mark of success on Lufkin football. My biggest regret is our future kids will not get to know and play for John Outlaw. Someday, 60 or 70 years from now, they will be asking the same question, Who was John Outlaw? That is just the way it is, we have our time on this earth and we are only remembered for a short time by the people in the present day. As we all fade away, so will the memory of those we honor today to the generations who follow us.

My thought is we need to honor Outlaw in some way now. Whether it be renaming the stadium or football field or indoor workout facility in the name of John Outlaw.

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Abe Martin was here 7 years and what he accomplished here as a football coach was the best ever up until the time the stadium we now call Abe Martin was built in 1973. My uncle, grandfather and mother all knew Mr. Martin or were at Lufkin High when he coached there, they talked alot about those times  to me when they were living.  He like Outlaw had great influence on the kids but mostly the ones on just one side of the tracks.  Lufkin was about 5000 population at the time and media coverage was limited to mostly a newpaper or radio. Just a different time and different era all together. It has been 69 years since Abe Martin coached in Lufkin.  Anyone played for Abe Martin in 1942 and still living would be 85 or 86 today.  I don't think we should forget his legecy and time in Lufkin.  He and John Outlaw both left their mark of success on Lufkin football.  My biggest regret is our future kids will not get to know and play for John Outlaw.  Someday, 60 or 70 years from now, they will be asking the same question, Who was John Outlaw?  That is just the way it is, we have our time on this earth and we are only remembered for a short time by the people in the present day.  As we all fade away, so will the memory of those we honor  today to the generations who follow us.

My thought is we need to honor Outlaw in some way now.  Whether it be renaming the stadium or football field or indoor workout facility in the name of John Outlaw.

Amen

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My vote would be to re-name the stadium after Coach Outlaw, but I don't see that happening. I don't know what the legal ramifications are, if any, but it's rare to see a stadium re-named. I grew up in Abilene - and I have no idea who Pete Shotwell was, nor do 95% of the people that go there - but that's it's name.

At the least, the field should be named after Coach, but would love to see a new precedence of re-naming the stadium.

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My vote would be to re-name the stadium after Coach Outlaw, but I don't see that happening.  I don't know what the legal ramifications are, if any, but it's rare to see a stadium re-named.  I grew up in Abilene - and I have no idea who Pete Shotwell was, nor do 95% of the people that go there - but that's it's name.

At the least, the field should be named after Coach, but would love to see a new precedence of re-naming the stadium.

Agree. I know a few people on here are going to jump on me for typing it, but I think Coach also deserves to have a statue or something like that at Abe or at the practice facility.

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My vote would be to re-name the stadium after Coach Outlaw, but I don't see that happening.  I don't know what the legal ramifications are, if any, but it's rare to see a stadium re-named.  I grew up in Abilene - and I have no idea who Pete Shotwell was, nor do 95% of the people that go there - but that's it's name.

At the least, the field should be named after Coach, but would love to see a new precedence of re-naming the stadium.

Stadiums are often renamed in many sports. Perhaps you meant Texas high school football, which is perceived to be sacred and pure. In this day and age of Facebook news cycles, meandering loyalties, and corporate sponsorships, there should be no worries with renaming "Old Abe" for Coach Outlaw. Just be warned that you are setting a precedent, and that when the next coach comes in (preferably Todd Quick) and provides the Pack with two state championships (preferably by 2015), the stadium is apt to be renamed again.

One wonders if Coach Outlaw would want the stadium renamed. The man seemed so humble in every aspect of his life that having the stadium renamed for him seems out of character. But I really did not know the man.

Instead of stadium name changes and statues, I might suggest a simple O on the back of the Purple helmets this year to honor the coach, and nothing else. No Pack logo for one year.

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Agree. I know a few people on here are going to jump on me for typing it, but I think Coach also deserves to have a statue or something like that at Abe or at the practice facility.

Jes you got my Vote

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Jessie what stadiums have been re-named that were named after an individual .. The renaming of stadiums in pro sports is about sponsorship and advertising dollars .. When someone wants to change the name from Abe Martin to something else they need to bring a check of at least 100 thousand and the name will be year to year based on payment ...

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Jessie  what stadiums have been re-named that  were named after an individual .. The renaming of stadiums in pro sports is about sponsorship and advertising dollars .. When someone wants to change the name from Abe Martin to something else they need to bring a check of at least 100 thousand and the name will be year to year based on payment ...

pack strong, my point is that won't surprise me when it happens, and it wouldn't surprise me if some group did show up with a check to change the name. I'm not in favor of it, as I think you can do other things to honor the coach. And one day, when economic conditions improve, or when a structural flaw in Abe is deemed to expensive to repair with leftover bond funds, there will be a new stadium/sports complex in Lufkin that can be named after Coach Outlaw.

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