Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com
Gary West, left to right, Raymond Rapp and Erwin "Diz" Reeves were honored Wednesday night for their contributions to coaching by the Greater San Antonio Football Coaches Foundation.
Thursday, Feb 10 at 7:31 PM
Former high school football coaches Raymond Rapp, Erwin “Diz” Reeves and Gary West started their careers in different parts of the state, but all three rose to prominence in their profession at Greater San Antonio schools.
Between them, Rapp, Reeves and West coached for more than 100 years.
“I coached for 43 years and I don’t know of anybody who enjoyed it any more than I did,” said Rapp, who coached at Churchill, East Central and Antonian. “I know what kind of impact coaches can make on people because my coaches influenced me. It was a great ride.”
Now retired, Rapp, Reeves and West were honored for their contributions to coaching by the Greater San Antonio Football Coaches Foundation on Wednesday night at MacArthur High School.
Some of the area’s top high school players in 2010 also were presented awards from the San Antonio Quarterback Club during the program.
Addressing the coaches gathered in the MacArthur auditorium, Reeves expressed humility when he was presented his plaque from the coaches’ organization by former coach and administrator Gregg Williams.
“I wrote down the names of people who I really looked up to in coaching, and it almost filled up both sides of this paper,” Reeves said, holding up the sheet. “About two-thirds of you are here
Reeves coached at Boerne, Highlands and Brackenridge before ending his high school career in 2001, after a seven-year stint as athletic director of the San Antonio Independent School.
“I loved coaching,” Reeves said. “It was really a blast.”
West, who coached at Holmes for 22 seasons when the Huskies were among the best teams in the region, said he valued the bond and trust coaches and athletes share.
“Coaches are on the front line with our youth,” said West, who lives in the River Crossing community just north of San Antonio. “Kids look up to coaches.”
West, 70, coached in Houston for 15 years before joining the Holmes staff in 1977.
West was an assistant coach at Holmes for 12 seasons, one under Frank Arnold and 11 under Gary Malesky, before taking over the program in 1989. The Huskies made the playoffs six times during West’s 10-year tenure as head coach, advancing to the state semifinals in 1992.
“We had a great run during those 22 years at Holmes,” West said. “We just happened to be there when we had some great athletes. We also had a great coaching staff. About the only thing I did was air up the footballs.”
West was being modest. Truth is, he was an outstanding coach with a knack for producing prolific offenses.
Rapp, 76, grew up in the Central Texas town of Smithville and coached at Churchill, East Central and Antonian. He also had a stint as an assistant coach at Texas Lutheran.
Rapp’s 1971 Churchill team tied district rival Lee, which went on to win the state championship with a 14-0-1 record.
Like Reeves and West, Rapp spoke reverently of his high school coach, Frank Rundell.
“He was a great man and the reason I went into coaching,” said Rapp, who lives in Canyon Lake.
One of the highlights of his career, Rapp said, was coaching with Rundell at Austin McCallum for one year in the late 1960s.
Reeves, 70, played high school football and baseball for three years in the West Texas town of Ozona. He attended Monahans High School as a freshman when Pat Bailey, later a high school football coach in San Antonio, was on the Loboes’ staff.
Reeves still talks to his high school football coach, Pete Hickman, now 84 and living in Fort Stockton, at least once a month.
“The best coach I probably had was my father, but Pete Hickman was a great influence on my life,” Reeves said.
West choked back tears when he recalled his coach at Houston Spring Branch, Darrell Tully, who died in 1997.
“I told Coach Tully I went into coaching because of his influence,” West said. “When he died, I went to his funeral and one of the first people I saw was one of his closest friends up in Houston.
“When he asked me who I was and I told him, he said, ‘You’re the one who told him you went into coaching because of him. You don’t know how much that meant to him.’”
Such are the ties that bind.