SI Vault
Giles Tippette
October 22, 1984
It was the scarf that did it. The pilot's scarf from the 924th Tactical Fighter Group at Bergstrom (Texas) Air Force Base, of which I'm an honorary member.
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October 22, 1984

An Honorary Coach Finds Maybe It's Best When His Ideas Aren't Honored

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I said, "To hell with that. We been running up their middle all night. Why not then?"

He says, "Well, I thought Tod could hit a pass. And we'd get a quick score."

I said, "Oh hell, don't give me that!" At that point Weder—or Weed, as the players called him—was 4 of 12 for 21 yards. He was having a terrible game and couldn't have hit my grandmother on a six-yard down-and-out if she'd been sitting in a rocking chair with no coverage. He'd also lost two fumbles. So I was still in his ear. Finally he said, as we neared the field house, "For God's sake, Coach, give me a break!"

Well, he was lucky. I didn't let up on him because I'd finished saying all I had to say. I was just out of breath.

Coach Hess made a pretty good half-time speech, and Lynn Graves, the defensive coordinator, and then Smitty Hill, the offensive coordinator, both gave their talks. But what I thought was the most effective halftime statement was made by Howard Wells, the offensive line coach. As he was talking to his linemen, he emphasized the point about what a sorry job they were doing by throwing a 10-foot-long Formica-topped table some 12 to 14 feet. Clear across the room. It had to have been a Lone Star Conference record.

That was his second record of the day; about an hour before game time, he'd thrown up three times.

Now it was time for the second half to start, and the handwriting was on the wall. I was standing by the door as the players left the locker room, my fighter pilot's scarf hanging around my neck. The scarf is silk, with small, swept-back winged F-4s on a royal blue field. As the players passed through the door, a few reached out and tentatively touched it. But just a few.

I thought it curious, but I forgot about it because the Rams came right after us. First their freshman quarterback, Ned Cox, wrapped up a 64-yard drive by handing off to running back Eddie O'Brien, who lugged the ball into the end zone. Then they came right back off an interception thrown by Weed. That resulted in a 41-yard field goal by Mike Thomas with 5:07 left in the third quarter.

Angelo State 10, SFA 0.

At that point, I gave up and went and sat down on the bench, hanging my head. But the players didn't give up. Defensive back Kary Cooper, who's about 27 years younger than I am, came and sat by me, patted me on the back and said, "Coach, it'll be all right. Don't worry." And LeBlanc came over, took me by the shoulders, jerked me around and said, "Coach, get your head up! This game ain't over. We're going to beat those suckers."

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