Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine and the Brownwood Lions’ football program came into their own in 1960, the magazine’s founder recalls, so having the Brownwood Lions in the magazine’s showcase classic almost a half-century later is very appropriate.
“Gordon Wood was a special friend,” Campbell said between conversations with visitors to the Sonic on Austin Avenue Saturday morning. “Of course, Texas Football came into being in 1960, the same year that Gordon Wood came to Brownwood as head coach. No one had any idea that Brownwood would be the state champion that year. And no one had any idea high school football would become as big as it has. Back then, all this was just starting.”
One of Wood’s players on that first Brownwood state championship team in 1960, Lawrence Elkins, was among the first in line to purchase magazines and get them autographed by Campbell, whose name has become as much identified with football in this state as many of the coaches and players he’s covered. Elkins went on to play for Baylor University and was drafted by the Houston Oilers, with whom he played two seasons.
Elkins told Campbell that while he was working in Saudia Arabia, he saw copies of Texas Football being read there.
“That goes to show you how far interest in Texas football goes,” Elkins said.
Elkins said he bought one copy of Texas Football for his brother-in-law and another for himself. A few minutes later, after an extended conversation with Campbell, Elkins paused to read the message Campbell left above his autograph. “To Lawrence Elkins… still the best receiver I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s great to see the interest and enthusiasm for the football season,” Campbell said as magazine readers lined up to buy copies. “It’s just mid-June, and the interest is already building for kickoff.”
Campbell didn’t deny that the publication of his magazine has something to do with that interest at this point in the summer.
“We try to have it out by Father’s Day,” Campbell said, “and I think we did that this year.”
Campbell paused frequently between autographs to engage in conversation with his visitors, quickly recalling names and games from decades of football in Texas.
But the real purpose of his visit, in addition to promoting this year’s edition of Texas Football, which went on sale last week, was to promote the 10th annual Texas Football Classic set for Aug. 28-30 at San Antonio’s Alamodome. The Brownwood Lions are one of 10 teams playing in the classic this year, and Campbell is visiting each of the cities where those high schools are located this summer.
Tickets were on sale for the classic along with the magazine. Proceeds were being donated to the Athletic Booster Club to help offset expenses to the game.
Brownwood will face Burnet at 3:45 p.m. Aug. 30, and Campbell’s tour had taken him there on Friday.
“(Burnet) has a great tradition,” Campbell said, “so everything’s shaping up.” Campbell said the 10-game Texas Football Classic has become a tradition for the opening of the high school football season each year.
“It’s scheduled for ‘zero week,’ and it’s a great way to usher in the high school schedule,” Campbell said. “The Alamodome is one of the great showplaces in the state, and San Antonio is such a great city. The whole event has turned out very well.”
Campbell said playing in the Texas Football Classic, and playing in the Alamodome, is something high school players will keep with them forever.
“They may go on to play college in great stadiums, or even beyond, but it’s an experience they’ll never forget.”
Classic officials said only teams from the most prestigious football markets are invited to play.