Five Others Recognized from Orange County
The Southeast Texas Coaches Association held its Annual Banquet Saturday, recognizing coaches in individual sports and inducting four new members into the Hall of Honor.
The 2019 Coaches of the Year recognized Orangefield’s John Davis for Girls Powerlifting and Stephanie Williams for Girls Cross Country. Ericka Richard (now at Vidor) of Bridge City for Boys Powerlifting, Bart Williams of LCM for Boys Golf and Ed Dyer of West Orange-Stark was the Assistant Coach of the Year. Dyer was not able to attend the event.
Former LCM baseball coach Steve Griffith joined former PNG football coach Matt Burnett, volleyball coach John Leonard, and retired trainer Johnnie McDonald.
Griffith had a record of 609-256 in 26 seasons with the Bears, making the playoffs 20 seasons with a playoff record of 68-40. In 18 of those 20 playoff trips the Bears advanced to the second round. In 1996 he reached the 4A State Championship, losing to FW Arlington Heights.
Griffith thanked his family, coaches and the LCM Administration. He also shared the story of how he didn’t think he would get the job when he interviewed with then AD Rhodney Russell in 1993.
“Every time he asked me how I would handle a certain baseball situation, he would disagree with my answer and tell me how I should do it,” he said. “After he disagreed several times with me I looked at him frustrated and said, Maybe you should coach the team.” He then got up and got in his truck to go home. He would receive a call on the way home Russell offering him the job.
Matt Burnett coached PNG for 15 seasons sporting a record of 96-65 with six playoff appearances. That includes a 4A State runner-up in 1999, losing to Stephenville in the title game.
Burnett was also a football star himself, starring at Lamar University (after being recruited by Dan Hooks) from 1975-79. He was a four year starter, freshman of the year, All-Conference, and in 1999 was elected to the Cardinal hall of Honor.
John Leonard led several volleyball programs with great success. None more than when he started at Barbers Hill in 2001 when they were introducing volleyball to the school.
In the next 12 years he posted a record of 368-110, 153-15 in district with ten championships. His 2004 team finished as a State Finalist with a mark of 39-3.
Longtime trainer Johnie McDonald was the first at Lamar Tech to graduate under the national curriculum certification. McDonald worked as a trainer for 40 years and said there are some 45,000 registered trainers in the country and the number on his card was 101.
He also said he’s wrapped the ankles of some famous athletes including Moses Malone, Rudy Tomjonavich, Dan Pastorini and maybe most notably it was McDonald who wrapped Billie Jean Kings ankles before she played Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome in 1973.
The THSCA All-Star games were also announced with Softball/Baseball on June 11 in Crosby. Orangefield softball coach Rebekah Ragsdale will lead the East Team. Volleyball and Basketball will take place June 12 at East Chambers HS. And the Football game will be June 13 and LCM’s Randy Crouch will be the head coach of the East Team.
-Gary Stelly, KOGT-