IT’S HARD TO ARGUE THE SUCCESS TATUM FOOT- ball coach Andy Evans has enjoyed since arriving at his hotbed of high school football, located between Longview and Carthage.
Evans, 49, grew up in Anahuac and was an assistant track
coach there for his father, Joe, prior to his first head football
coaching job in 1995 at East
Chambers. His football teams at East Chambers and
Tatum have never missed the playoffs.
His winning percentage and record (.793, 115-31), a
couple of state championships and seven district crowns at
Tatum speak for themselves.
You could tell by the tenor of his voice, though, he would
trade all that for his son, Scott, who lost his life in a one-vehicle accident earlier this year at age of 19.
“He’s everything I wish I could teach every kid at school,”
Evans said. “He had an unconditional love for everyone he
dealt with. He lived to love God first and then his neighbor.
He was that type of kid. Just very special.”
The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree in Coach Evans’
case. “I guess my whole life I wanted to be a coach,” he said.
His career path started by working alongside his father.
But the two have coached together now for 27 years, the last
11 at Tatum.
“Everything I am as a coach I learned from my dad. The
most important thing he taught me is about building relation-
ships with the players,” Evans continued. “The way we treat
kids, like God treats us. God holds us accountable for our
actions, but He still loves us. The other thing is you can beat
people without taking their dignity from them.”
The Eagles won back-to-back state championships,
defeating Hutto in 2005 and Littlefield in ’06. They played for
a three-peat in 2007, but lost to Farmersville in overtime.
But for anyone who has the opportunity to spend time with
Evans, you know the game is played for more than wins and
championships. – JOE HALE
PORT LAVACA CALHOUN
RICHARD WHITAKER WASN’T DETERRED BY Calhoun’s football futility when he became the athletic director and head football coach in 2005. The Sandcrabs were coming off a 1-9 season
and hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1961.
The chance to be an athletic director was a reason Whitaker left Kingsville for Port Lavaca. But he also saw potential.
“I just felt like the system we were going to run was going to
give us an opportunity to have some success,” Whitaker said.
“I felt like it was place to go work and see what happens.”
Calhoun went 2-8 in 2005, but moved from Region III to
Region IV in the 2006 UIL realignment.
The Sandcrabs responded by winning a district championship and advancing to the area playoffs.
Calhoun has never looked back, making nine consecutive playoff appearances while becoming one of the most
successful programs in South Texas.
“There were a lot of great things that went on that first year
as far as production that hadn’t been done in the last couple
of years,” said Whitaker, who has an 89-34 record in his 10
seasons at Calhoun. “We just had to put the kids through a
much tougher offseason and get them stronger and more
physical and continue to implement the offensive system
that we love to run.”
Calhoun runs an option offense Whitaker learned
while an assistant at Aldine when it won the 1990 state
Whitaker has patterned Calhoun’s offense on the Naval
Academy and sells the team aspects of the system.
“We say all the time, you can have one guy make a
play and 10 guys watching,” he said. “But in our system of
offense, if we have one guy that doesn’t do his job, we don’t
have success. We’ve got to have 11 guys working on the
same page and executing. It’s tough offense to execute.”
Calhoun’s progress was tested last season when it moved
back to Region III. But the Sandcrabs made the playoffs and
advanced to the area round.
“What we were getting inside the kids’ heads was there
are going to be a lot of doubters who say it’s going to be the
way it used to be,” Whitaker said. “We kind of hammered it
home to the kids. We were the defending Region IV champion and we felt like we had something prove. We felt like our
kids competed very well.” – MIKE FORMAN
Andy Evan’s high school coaching career started working alongside his father, Joe.
Richard Whitaker has turned potential into results at Port Lavaca Calhoun.