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Former Football: First and 10 with Tommy Badon

First and 10 with Tommy Badon

Tommy Badon has been Westminster Christian’s head football coach for five years now. After a 3-7 first season, the Crusaders have been 37-10 with six playoff victories. Before that, he’s coached football at Teurlings (1981-86), Lafayette High (1986-87) and track at Blinn JC (1987-89) and UL (1989-97).

1. After leaving football for track, did you ever imagine you’d be a high school head football coach?

"No way. In 1996, if you would have asked me to list the top 50 jobs I’d be at right now, Westminster wouldn’t have been anywhere near that list. At that time, my goal was to be a head college (track) coach.”

2. How did the Westminster coaching job happen then?

"They were looking for a coach and called me to be on a search committee to hire a coach. The guy who called me jokingly said, ‘Unless you’d be interested.’ I have been thinking about getting back into coaching and fighting with it, so I told him I might just be interested.”

3. After being out of football for 16 years, were you concerned that too many things had changed?

"I’ve really believed for a long time that it’s really about playing hard and doing a few things right. I went to a clinic in 1985 in Houston and heard J.T. Curtis speak, and remember it like it was yesterday. He told a coach there, ‘Sir, you don’t understand. We’re John Curtis Christian School. You’re not going to make us do what you want us to do. We’re going to do what we do.’ And that’s what they do. They’ve got like eight plays and they run them to perfection. And I believe that you can apply that philosophy to any sport.”

4. What was the biggest obstacle your first year or so at Westminster?

"The kids didn’t believe in the adults. I was the fourth head coach they had in 10 months. Every thing I told them, they took with a grain of salt. They were thinking, ‘Sure, you probably won’t be here past April.’ They were very skeptical. I had to prove everything to them.”

5. Did you ever doubt whether you made the right decision to go to Westminster?

"The first week I was here. I tested the first week and we didn’t have a single lineman under a 6.0 in the 40. Only three people on the whole team could break 5.0 in the 40. Then I only had six kids come out for track that first spring.”

6. How long did it take to win the kids over?

"I think about the third or fourth game of my second year here, they started to see how much better they had gotten. The only thing I ever promised them is that we were going to be the best conditioned team every Friday. In the fourth quarter, they weren’t going to be dying. It was tough at first, but our offseason conditioning was staying after school running track, no questions asked. They didn’t like that at first. And that first summer, vacations were more important than football.”

7. Are you surprised that your numbers haven’t really improved since that first year?

"No. We had about 39 kids that first year and we’ve got 39 kids now, including 15 freshmen. The school hadn’t gotten any bigger. We have limited classroom space. You have to take an entrance exam to get in. Our kids have been at Westminster for 9, 13 and 14 years. Of all of our seniors, Joey Thibodeaux is the only one that hasn’t been.”

8. What’s the biggest misconception about private schools?

"A lot of people believe that all private schools recruit and cheat. They believe that the reason we have success is because we go out and recruit players. Nobody’s beating down our door here to come play for Westminster.”

9. Is there an extra burden to do the right thing at a school that calls itself Christian?

"Not all of my players are Christian. You don’t have to make a profession to attend the school. Our job is to teach them the truth and hope they listen. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It just means that Jesus is your savior and the Lord of your life. Do people look at you differently when you mess up? I think so. But all of our kids aren’t choir boys. They’re like the rest of the world. They’re enticed by the same things. We have divorce and broken families and kids in trouble like everybody else, even in families that profess to be Christian. We just hope that when they’re 25, they think about what we’ve taught them and make the right decisions.”

10. Can you see yourself coaching at Westminster for a long time?

"I have boys 11, 9 and 7. I’ve told them that if the school will have me that I’d like to say here until they’re done.”

Daily Advertiser, October 24, 2007

Footnote:  Tommy Badon’s profile is posted in the Athletic Network.