Jack Welch

JACK WELCH From the Bleachers

This past weekend was the 2021 TIPS CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl featuring the Tyler Junior College Apaches and the Coffeyville Red Ravens.

The teams fought to the end with the Apaches coming away with a 28-7 win. There was a lot of excitement and pageantry.

Watching these great teams play brought back memories. One of the memories is the hard recruiting battles of the Kansas Community Colleges back in the day. When I was head coaching in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, each football team could only play 10 out-of-state players, which made all colleges battle after a limited amount of potential college athletes.

Some coaches in the conference would argue this did not allow the Kansas teams to be competitive throughout the nation. This is not true. The fact is there have been numerous national championships won over the years by each of the Kansas colleges.

Only being able to certify 10 out-of-state players for the roster created intense in-state recruiting battles. There would be recruiting talk amongst the recruiters. Over the years, the paths of these coaches will cross and remembrance of what was said will come back to haunt the coaches making these statements about others.

I know you have heard some good old sayings to describe someone. When competition is fierce, the best and worst come out of people. I remember coaches within the conference saying a coach was older than dirt. Guess what. I am now older than that coach.

One of my biggest competitors was a nearby college that had a storied history of winning. This coach did not like the fact that our college, Ft. Scott Community College, was beating his team consistently on the field and especially in the Kansas City area in recruiting. This particular coach would call me preacher Jack.

It was not my preaching that built our winning tradition but the fact I had great recruiting coaches. One was assistant Coach Tracy Welch. He was one of the best college recruiters in America. He did a fantastic job, and FSCC had a major turnaround in a very short time because of his expertise.

When I heard the opposing coach would mock me with this saying, I would smile and try not to respond in a negative way, although I cannot say I was perfect in that attempt.

In college, it is all about recruiting. Best players win. Period. Other variables come into play, but it is crucial to have great recruiting classes.

Watching Tyler Junior College and Coffeyville brought back those memories. It reminded me I would now be the one that was older than dirt.

Thought for the week, “Do good for others. It will come back to you in unexpected ways.” Vance McAnally.

Jack Welch grew up in Osawatomie. He holds a Doctor of Education degree and has been a college and high school football coach for 39 years. He can be reached at jackwelch1975@gmail.com.

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