Thursday, January 21, 2010

A solid hire

Mel Maxfield is not a slick salesman. He's not going to say one thing and do another. The new Amarillo High coach, introduced to the media on Wednesday, has a lot more substance than style.

In a way, his philosophy and demeanor reminded me of Larry Dippel, the Sandie legend who retired after 31 years in 2004. And that can only be a good thing. He will run the old-school Wing T, but like Dippel's, whose offense could throw when need be, his will too.

He brings 23 years of head coaching experience from Forney and Burleson as well 174 wins to a program that, as he said over and over, doesn't need fixing. Though this is really his first foray into West Texas,it's been a goal of his to get here.

"I've only sent out three resumes since I've been at Burleson," Maxfield said, "and this obviously was one of them. It's been a dream of mine to come to this part of the country and coach.

"Following Larry and now Brad (Thiessen, the new athletic director instrumental in hiring his replacement), those footprints just got bigger. This is a good job that doesn't come open very much -- and I hope it doesn't open up anytime soon."

Maxfield, 51, does have a bit of a tie to the area. The year after I graduated from Groom in 1976, the Tigers played Gorman in the 1A semifinals and lost. I was at the game and remembered a quarterback named Mel Maxfield, all-state quarterback. Knowing he was from Gorman, near Stephenville, I asked him if that was the case because that was a few pounds and a lot of hair ago.

"Yep, sure was, played in Iowa Park," he said.

"Yeah, I think the score was something like 26-20."

"26-21. Chris Britten was a linebacker from Groom. We played together in the all-star game that summer."

Not a pretentious bone in that man's body.

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