Welch talks retirement, coaching, the logo, and the future
By LYNETTE SOWELL
After his last day on the job as the athletic director of the Copperas Cove Independent School District, Jack Welch sat down with local media to answer questions and talk about what may come next for him.
The decision to retire
Welch said his decision to retire after 24 years at CCISD came about after his brother, Tracy Welch, took the job as athletic director at the Lake Worth School District.
“When Tracy Welch took the AD and head coach job at Lake Worth, I had to take some time. I went to the superintendent, asked if I could take some leave time. I had a lot of days built up, and asked to take some days, think pray, reflect, and make a decision on what to do. After looking at that, looking at everything involved, I felt like it was best to retire. I think it is the best for our football program, our coaches, and I have to put our coaches and players first.”
Then Tracy Ranes and Vance McAnally, the offensive coaching staff, also decided to leave for Lake Worth. Welch said it would have been selfish for him to remain and hire more coaches to replace Welch, Ranes, and McAnally, then retire later, only for another AD/head coach to come on board and hire more staff.
He also said he could have retired eight years ago, being at the “top of the rung” for the Texas retirement system, but he stayed on because of his love for the city, the school district, and for the players.
He also dispelled some rumors, such as when he actually cleaned out his office – not until Monday, April 30, and that he was not in the running for a superintendent at Lake Worth ISD – although he does have his superintendent certification.
He said there are plans in the works for a celebration in the near future - not for him, but to thank the coaches and players.
Not being able to thank the kids yet is the “biggest heartache I have,” Welch said. Welch said his original plan was to go 3-5 more years, or have Tracy become AD/head coach after he retired.
“God’s got better plans than what we have; I believe that with all my heart,” Welch said.
Welch, who had three years left on a four-year contract approved by the CCISD board of trustees in 2017, called the May 1 payment of an $80,000 lump sum (minus taxes) a “buyout.”
The trademarked logo
In addition to the lump sum of $80,000 and other items such as a positive letter of recommendation, health benefits until May 31, and the May 15 date of his final paycheck from the district, Welch’s agreement also contained a section that “in exchange for the consideration set out within this agreement” the district was given a license to use the Bulldawg logo for 10 years.
Welch said the district is not paying to use the logo and that he originally had the logo designed for the Welch Foundation, and it was not developed or designed for the school district.
“That has been a misnomer for several years. It’s not the adopted school logo,” he said. He also said worked with Artworks, a design agency in Killeen at the time, on several dog head designs.
“Over the years, people liked that dog head and asked me if they could use it. I have allowed CCISD to use that dog head at no cost, for all these years. Now it is on a lot of different things throughout our district. The question was, ‘coach, can we use your logo for 10 years?’ At the end of the 10 years, we’ll talk about it again at that time.”
“Once you start doing things, people take it and automatically think he’s charging and making all this money off it,” he said, adding that businesses have also obtained licensing agreements to use it for a small percentage of any profits.
Bulldog or Bulldawg?
Welch also talked about the use of the name Bulldawgs, which has been a point of contention for some who would rather the athletes be called “Bulldogs.”
He said at the time of the change, sometime in the 1990s, a local newspaper started referring to the team as the Bulldawgs, and the name stuck.
“We have never changed the name to Bulldawgs,” Welch said. “They started writing it in the paper. Before long it was all over. We started using it because the local newspaper was using it. It kind of went rampant. I’ll say this: the kids like it.”
What’s next for Jack Welch?
Welch hasn’t ruled anything out as of yet for the future, such as the possibility of working at the college level. Aside from his retirement, he will continue as usual with his other endeavors, such as being part of the Lion’s Club and helping the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.
America’s Drug Free Productions, Inc., which Welch heads up, will still continue. As far at the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl, Welch said that’s something they’ll have to look at, maybe even working with the city to run the bowl.
“There’s two reasons I do the Heart of Texas Bowl, one is to bring economy into our community. Two, it helps our kids and it helps our school with that publicity. We’ve had it on national TV for four years now,” Welch said.
On a volunteer level, Welch said he is also looking at getting involved with prison and jail ministry. He said he will also continue to play drums at church and with the Chainlink Band.
For now, too, he said one of his duties at home will be cleaning the pool, something his wife is happy to hand over to him now that he has more time.
Welch said he will have season tickets to the Bulldawg home games and cheer from the stands.
“I’ll be their biggest supporter. I promise you this; I won’t be second-guessing up there where people can hear me. in my mind, maybe,” he said with a smile. “I plan on being involved in Copperas Cove, and in our school system. I want to help our kids. I want to help our schools, our community. I’m here for them.”
New coaching, new team, new era
Welch is also looking forward to seeing the up-and-coming talent for the Bulldawgs.
“This is a team we’ve been waiting on. This is the group. We’ve watched these kids since elementary school. We’ve never been talent depleted. We saw this group coming and we knew how strong they were…look how strong they are,” Welch said. “We have a great group returning. The quarterback is going to be dynamite. The running back is faster than a hiccup…This offensive line, holey moley, it’s strong. It was really a tough decision.”
His retirement, he said, will give the school an opportunity to get a top-notch coach in place.
“I think the main thing is to hire a proven coach, a coach that knows how to build,” Welch said. “The hardest thing is to sustain…I’ve been here 24 years, and every year we look at change. I never want to be even. I always want to change and adapt and move forward.”
Welch said there’s a great foundation, great coaches, great school, and a great community. “It’s a win-win situation.”