Cheers for Tracy
It has been quite a party. For twenty-nine years, Tracy Welch has been my right and left hand man. He is the finest football mind I have ever been associated with. He is now officially the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach for the Lake Worth Bullfrogs. Boy, will I miss him but what a gain for the Bullfrogs of Lake Worth. I expect the Bullfrogs to make history by becoming a state caliber program.
Tracy Welch has established himself as one of the finest teachers of young coaches there is in the athletic business of coaching. Coaches underneath his tutelage are now coaching in the NFL, college and in high schools all over. He is the type of coach that goes the extra mile in teaching all the right things to do in the coaching profession.
He has been influential in building the entire CCISD athletic program. He served as head boys track coach and built a powerhouse, eventually leading to a state championship. He has helped to initiate a strong little league program in the city, helping all sports youth teams. Along with Sue Wagner, Tracy helped to add several sports to the CCHS curriculum (swimming, wrestling, power lifting and tennis).
Players respond to Coach Tracy Welch as well. He loves working with students to help them in the game of life. Having his Master’s Degree in counseling, he understands how to help young people grow and mature. He is always counseling players before and after school. He cares about the player as a person. Young people know when a coach really cares about them and Tracy’s players always give him maximum effort because they do not want to disappoint him.
“If it wasn’t for Coach Tracy I would have never received my college degree, played college and professional football. Coach Tracy helped me be a better father and husband; I love him,” Eddie “Touchdown” Brown (Hall of Fame Arena League player and father of Pittsburg Steelers’ Antonio Brown). I could write countless numbers of articles quoting parents, players, teachers, custodial staff and administrators about the quality of person, coach and teacher Tracy Welch is. Tracy is truly a teacher of the game of life. He lives it. He teaches it. He models it.
I think the reason Tracy has been so influential to coaches and players is the genuine love he has for people. He cares about young people having academic and athletic success. He understands the demands on students and teachers.
Tracy has always had a tremendous amount of respect for the faculty and administration. He does what is necessary to assist both groups. He works tirelessly to help these folks because he understands the importance of teamwork.
Tracy is a competitor and his teams reflect his competitive nature. He has taught countless numbers of players the importance of competing. I cannot count how many times we have come from behind to win a game. Remember the great win this year in the come from behind victory against Belton, which earned the ‘Dawgs another state playoff game? The offense hit a switch and was unstoppable.
Tracy is a great role model. He teaches young people to follow the rules. He knows the rules of the game better than anyone I know and he wants his players and coaches to understand the rules.
Tracy has many friends in Copperas Cove and I know this was a tough decision for him, especially saying goodbye to this group of ‘Dawgs. He has helped guide and groom these players since elementary school. He was so excited to have Simpson (Quarterback), Simmons (running back), Troy (tight end and H-back), Shanahan (center), and a host of others to build this year’s offense around. One of his favorite things about coaching was to see young men grow and develop to reach their goals. He has watched this group since elementary school and knew this year’s team would be special.
Tracy tore his shoulder his junior year of college football, which ended his playing career. I hired him as a student-coach, while he attended Pittsburg State University. My boss at Ft. Scott Community College, President Dr. Dick Hedges, saw the potential Tracy had when he started helping me coach as a student-assistant. Dr. Hedges immediately hired him full-time as an admissions counselor and assistant football coach. At nineteen years of age, Tracy Welch was the youngest full-time college football coach in America.
The rest is history. Tracy helped lead our team to five winning seasons and three national bowl games. Under his leadership as Offensive Coordinator, the Greyhound offense consistently ranked in the top of the national charts. Our team won the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Championship and Bill Snyder lured Tracy to Kansas State in 1993. The Wildcats had a great season and started their current bowl game history with a win in the Copper Bowl. After that season, I snatched Tracy back up to join me in our quest to start building the ‘Dawg program. And it has been a party. A tremendously successful and fun party.
Tracy and Sheri, and their beautiful family of Kaylee, Caleb and Matthew, will be greatly missed. Time goes on though and the ‘Dawgs will have to carry on. We will make Tracy proud by hopefully challenging for another state championship run. His leadership and guidance throughout the years have helped prepare this group for that charge. With both junior varsities having undefeated district championship runs last season, he knows our current group of ‘Dawgs are special.
Goodbye my best friend. We will make you proud. I know you and your staff will get those Bullfrogs moving in the right direction. If God is willing, someday we will do this again. Cheers for Tracy.
Thought for the week, “There is a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other feels like losing a piece of yourself. He was both to me” Jack Welch