Like many who show up in Lubbock for the first time, Percy Hines thought he wouldn’t stay for long. He grew up in Orange in the far southeast corner of Texas, and after seeing his first West Texas duststorm, believed he’d make his way back closer to home after two or three years.
“I met a Lubbock girl,” Hines said, referring to his wife, the former Doris Williams. “She was a first-year teacher the same time I was. We met, dated, eventually got married and I’m still here.”
Hines came to Lubbock in 1963, married in 1964 and was that rare coach who spent his entire career in one city — he worked at Dunbar, Coronado, Alderson Junior High and Estacado. The Estacado years, 1976 through 1996, were his pinnacle. Hines led the Matadors to three state and nine regional championships in track and field and was a top assistant on Louis Kelley’s powerful football teams.
He was part of the second class recently inducted into the Lubbock ISD Athletic Hall of Honor.
“We had a great run with the group of kids we had,” Hines said, “and we were able to really excel in all sports — in football, basketball, track and field and baseball — during that period. Back in the ’80s, most of the kids played three sports during that time. It was just great coaching those guys.”
Upon Hines’ arrival in Lubbock, then-Dunbar principal E.C. Struggs picked him up at the train station and took him to meet Kelley. That turned out to be a life-shaping introduction. The two spent 29 years working together at Dunbar and Estacado. At Estacado, Kelley helped Hines’ track program by freeing football players to focus on track in the spring. In turn, Hines served as offensive coordinator on some of the Mats’ best football squads.
“I always felt real comfortable with coach Kelley, and we were real comfortable with each other,” said Hines, who calls Kelley his best friend. “Many times, we were almost thinking the same on certain plays, calling plays. It was just a great experience working with him.”
Hines’ track teams won 13 district championships, plus state titles in 1982, 1983 and 1986.
“We felt like we probably should have won some more,” he said, “but we had a little tough luck, dropping batons and things of that nature.”
Hines still goes to the state track meet every year ... except he had to miss this year’s because it fell on the same weekend as his May 12 Hall of Honor induction. The new LISD class comprised four players, two coaches and three teams.
The athletes were Coronado football player Jerry Austin (1966-68), Lubbock High football player Charles Brewer (1949-51), Monterey football player Curtis Jordan (1970-72) and Monterey baseball player Donnie Moore (1970-72). The other coach enshrined was the late Ernest Mallory, who from 1950 to 1962 at Dunbar guided the Panthers to four Prairie View Interscholastic League state basketball titles.
The teams inducted were Lubbock High’s football state champions of 1951 and 1952 and Dunbar’s basketball state champions of 1953.
Retired LISD coach and administrator Curtis Gipson played on Mallory’s 1953 team and coached the Panthers to another state title in 1965.
“It brought back many good memories, no doubt about it,” Gipson said of the inductions. “It brought back lots of emotion and many very happy people because of the recognition.”
The LISD Athletic Hall of Honor enshrined its first group last year. Next year will be the 60th anniversary of Dunbar’s ’53 state title, so Gipson said the recognition came just in time. One of the ’53 Panthers, former University of Texas football assistant Prenis Williams, passed away in April. Besides himself, Gipson said, only two members survive — Samuel Metters in Virginia and Richard Mason in Kansas.
“I thought it was great, and I thought it was good timing,” Gipson said. “In other words, where we had some (team members) left to get the recognition and their families would know about it.”
Gipson said four players off the 1953 team went to college on football scholarships, most notably John Milus to Illinois, and two got basketball scholarships. All-state honoree O.D. Gary later made the Harlem Globetrotters.
Even after that collection of talent moved on, Mallory coached Dunbar to state championships in 1957, 1960 and 1961. Mallory died in 2005.
“He was fundamentally sound,” Gipson said. “He made sure that every person that played basketball for him was fundamentally sound.”
Right after Gipson coached Dunbar to the 1965 state title, a new school opened across town — Coronado. One of the Mustangs’ first stars was Austin, a standout running back from 1966 to 1968.
“We were underdogs most of the time, because we were a startup school,” Austin said. “It was pretty exciting, quite frankly, and quite a challenge.”
Austin was a two-time all-district and All-City selection and held the program’s scoring record until 2009. His Mustangs’ single-season mark of 21 touchdowns still stands.
The year Austin graduated, Angelo State hired young Texas Tech assistant Grant Teaff as head coach. Teaff made Austin part of his first signing class. Austin’s running backs coach at Coronado, Jerry Vandergriff, would join the Angelo State staff in 1971 and reconnect with him.
Wayne Wilsher had led Class 1A Ingleside to a state final before taking over as Coronado’s first coach.
“I just give the coaches full credit,” Austin said. “Coach Wilsher and that crew he brought in, coach Vandergriff included, they taught us how to work. They taught us how to compete. Of course, we wanted to prove ourselves.”
Austin still lives in Lubbock. Since 1995, he has designed and sold a workout device, the Austin Leg Drive, coast to coast and has several major universities as clients. When Austin was growing up, his father drove the team bus for Monterey for several years. If not for Coronado’s opening, Austin would have been a Plainsman based on where he lived.
“That’s where I dreamed of going anyway, because I grew up around that,” Austin said. “My dad talked about coach (Bobby) Moegle and coach (James) Odom and those players that played there. ... It was a pretty emotional deal when we first played them, and my dad had always driven them to the game.”
Moegle took part in the Hall of Honor ceremonies this year to speak on behalf of the late Moore, Monterey’s early 1970s pitching star who made it to the Major Leagues. At the end of his ninth-grade year at Dunbar, Moore transferred to Monterey, telling Moegle it would improve his chances at pro ball.
Specifically, Moegle recalled sitting on a loading dock at Monterey in the late spring of 1969 and listening to Moore lay out his ambition. Never mind that Moegle doubted he’d be able to change schools.
“He came to Monterey with the idea he was going to better himself by going on to play pro baseball,” Moegle said. “Of course, from there on, it was history.”
Moore played on a state-tournament team in 1970, won the Plainmen’s first game in Austin in 1971 and pitched in every Monterey playoff game in 1972. That’s the year Moegle won the first of his four state championships as Moore set single-season school records with 18 wins and 222 strikeouts.
Even with Monterey’s rich baseball history, Moegle acknowledged Moore being his all-time best pitcher.
“When you look at where he went and what he did, to what level, you’d have to say yes,” said Moegle, who rattled off several more of his star pitchers. “I would say if you had to take one guy to win one game, it would have been Moore. He had tunnel vision when he got out there. He was deadly.”
Hence, the reason Moore was on the mound with one out and the bases loaded in the last inning of the 1972 state championship game against Bellaire, trying to protect a 2-1 lead. Moore, the starting and winning pitcher the day before in the semifinals, moved from left field to the mound to close the title game. Years later, Moore would have 89 saves in the big leagues and sign a million-dollar contract, but with the bases loaded against Bellaire he summoned his coach out of the dugout.
“He went up to the (first-base) line, wiggled his finger at me like, ‘Come out here; I need to talk to you,’” Moegle said. “I walked out there and he said, ‘Coach, I’m nervous.’
“I said, ‘I’m going to tell you one thing, Moore. I’m nervous, too. But we don’t have problem one if you strike out the next two.’ And he went out and did it.”
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