Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Coach Pappy: Texas A&M's oldest living letterman

My paper, the Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise, had a marvelous story today about "Pappy" Drennan, an icon in Southeast Texas high school football during the days when we were producing an unusual number of pro stars such as Bubba Smith and Jerry Levias.

Pappy, now 96, started coaching high school football in 1938. He won 95 games in 19 years as a head coach and retired in 1971. He is Texas A&M's oldest living letterman and the oldest living high school coach in Southeast Texas. He still drives his truck, still holds season tickets to Aggie football games, still attends A&M functions in town. Writer Perryn Keys' story said, in part:

Pappy is a man who wore a leather helmet when he played high school football at Cleburne, but only because plastic was still a few decades away. He is a man who not only remembers Texas A&M's only national championship in 1939, he roamed campus before then. He was best friends with the Aggies' brightest stars. And yet he still doesn't understand all the fuss.

"I mean, I'm sure glad to have you," he said humbly. "But I don't know why you're here. There's people who were All-Americans, guys who wound up being millionaires. I was a great player in high school, but not after that. Not in college."

Want to read more about this special guy? Check out the Enterprise story here.

1 comment:

Michael Gillespie said...

The description of Coach Drennan, who "carried himself with a quiet, calm resolve", and who "did things the Christian way - he never cursed, and he knew about all his players," well, it's all true. "Coach Drennan," is what we students at Forest Park called him, and, as I recall, what the other coaches called him. I couldn't have imagined calling him "Pappy." He commanded respect because he was respectful of others. His style of coaching didn't include a gruff or personally aggressive manner but a calm, kind, and thoughtful demeanor. During the four years I spent at Forest Park, I never heard the man utter a heated word.

The world would be a better place if there were more like him. I'm delighted to learn that he is doing well at 96.

Thanks for calling the story to the attention of Under the News readers, Ron.