Wood, Gordon L 1971, 1972

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Gordon Wood, longtime football coach in Brownwood, talks about his early life and coaching career, his entry into the Navy after Pearl Harbor, his involvement in community recreational programs, and his philosophy and social attitudes toward athletics.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Gordon L. Wood

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: July 18, 1971; January 31-February 1, 1972

Location: Brownwood, Texas

Interviewer: Perry McWilliams and Fred Carpenter

Length: 4 hours 20 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Background and education information, Review of coaching career, 1938 to present, Describes extent of athletic workouts, Changes occurring in football techniques used by coaches, Athletic discipline experienced at Hardin-Simmons University (1930s), Procedures and methods of discipline used by Wood at Brownwood High School, Athletic program at Brownwood discussed, Wood’s attitude toward present-day high school athletes explained, Anecdote concerning Mr. Hardin’s niece being expelled from Hardin-Simmons University, Coordination between school and athletic disciplinary rules, "Gordon Wood Day" in Brownwood described.

Tape 1, Side 2: Blank

Tape 2, Side 1: Background and early life, Grandparents settled near Abilene, Father’s childhood in Austin, Farming in Taylor County, Recalls Elm Creek Floods, Explains father’s opposition to education, Mother and children’s move to Abilene and Wood’s subsequent education, Ignorance of football rules, Recalls work with threshing crew and the character of farm work, Traveling with the Wylie debate team, Mentions two great influences—debate coach Dr. Comer Clay and choral director Osell Murdoch.

Tape 2, Side 2: Osell Murdoch (continued), Father’s opposition to Gordon’s attending Abilene High School, Describes track competition in Taylor County, Attended Hardin-Simmons (1934), Participation in athletics at Hardin-Simmons, Criticizes Frank Kimbrough’s failure to utilize, coaching assistants, Coaching at Spur, Texas (1938), Wood’s failure to receive head coach position, Recalls coaching football at Rule, Texas, Victory over Spur described, Summertime jobs named, Failure at Naval Officers’ Candidate School at Columbia University, Enrolls in Gene Tunney Recruiting Program in Virginia, Mentions coaching for two weeks in Haskell while waiting for further naval training, Recruiting performance for the Navy in California, Improvement of boxing program under Wood, Ironies in Naval administration described.

Tape 3, Side 1: Navy administration policies (continued), Criticizes inadequacy of naval personnel training, Coaching in Roscoe, Texas after naval service, Marriage in California (1943), Explains band-athletic conflict a Spur High School, Anecdote about teacher’s refusal to accept Wood’s left-handed condition, Wood’s attitude toward cigarettes, Athletic program and players at Roscoe (1945-47), George Parks’ Boys’ Club in Roscoe discussed, Coaching at Seminole, Texas, Program and players recalled, Describes winning state championship in track.

Tape 3, Side 2: Coaching at Winters, Texas (1950), Move to coaching position at Stamford, Texas (1951), Examines seven-year record at Stamford, Recalls coaching job at Victoria, Texas (1958), Stamford players recalled, Football used as a means for acquiring a college education, All-American Bob Harrison recalled, Stresses the mother’s role in the development of athletes, Bud Wilkinson’s recruiting techniques for Texas boys described, Stamford state championships listed, Recruiting charge leveled at Stamford disputed, Emphasizes importance of group unity on football team, Praises Stamford coaching staffs, Coaching at Victoria (1958), Attitude toward social and economic conditions there, Characterizes Mexican-Americans of South Texas, Explains decision to leave Victoria.

Tape 4, Side 1: Emory Bellard hired over Wood by San Angelo school board, Head football coach at Brownwood (1960), Victory over San Angelo impetus in winning state championship, Discusses outstanding Brownwood teams, 1964 team, players and problems, 1965 3-A state championship described, Won 1967 3-A state championship, 1970 3-A state championship, 1969 state championship team, players and problems.

Tape 4, Side 2: Recalls Brownwood playing Lubbock Estacado (1968 and 1969), Philosophy of discipline as it affects the black athlete, Emphasizes influence of family on players, Gives views of adoption resulting from their personal experience, Describes experiences boxing in state tournaments, Resentment about bargaining for coaching jobs explained.

Tape 5, Side 1: Wood served as president of the Texas High School, Coaches Association (1959), Recipient of "Coach of the Year" award in 1955 and 1969, Participation in state and national coaching clinics recalled, Anecdote about giving advice and kicking tee to Coach Darrell Royal, Attended California, New Mexico and Oklahoma coaching clinics, Reluctance to be obligated to frequent local speaking engagements, National and Texas High School Coaches Hall of Honor students, Praises Brownwood coaching staff, Attitude toward school board’s lack of unity, Relates experiences coaching in professional football in Canada in the summer, Describes good response in coaching pro football players, Origin and purpose of "Gordon Wood Day".

Tape 5, Side 2: Opinion of role of football in school confidence, Supports good relationship between athletics and other school programs, Building program and new football stadium controversy reviewed, Reasons school bonds defeated, County-city-school cooperation in building a stadium, Sources of private contributions, Effect of dropping football from Hardin-Simmons program, Expectations for proposed Brownwood Boys’ Club, Dick Alexander, benefactor, Rusty Russell’s career reviewed, Recalls career of "Pooch" Wright.

Range Dates: 1920s-1972

Bulk Dates: 1934-1972

Access Information

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