For many longtime residents of Brownwood, it may seem hard to comprehend that it’s been over 20 years since Gordon Wood retired as head football coach and athletic director of Brownwood High School. When he did, he left as the winningest football coach at any level — high school, college or professional — and the pride and positive attention his Lion teams brought this community helped but Brownwood on the map for many Texans.
That legacy lives on, even after Wood’s death in 2003, but time does march on. That’s why the effort being put into the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions is important.
Wood established the Hall of Champions as a way to recognize many of the best high school players with whom he was associated during his career, and that list includes more than just those he coached at Brownwood. For example, a standout athlete from Stamford was included in this year’s class of inductees, who were honored during a banquet Friday night. Activities continued Saturday at Feather Bay Golf Course with a three-person benefit golf tournament.
As important as the contributions those players made to his programs, Wood seemed to take even more pride in what his high school athletes did off the field and after graduation than he did in the statistics of passing yards, touchdowns made or tackles recorded during games. He made a point of keeping in touch with those players throughout their adult careers — and so have his assistant coaches. The success that so many of those players enjoyed as students and as players has followed them into their professional and personal lives.
As another group of those individuals was inducted into the Hall of Champions Friday night, some more champions — members the 1962 Brownwood High School state title track team — were also honored.
Meanwhile, the museum where the history of Wood’s career and the tributes to those players is nearing completion, and depending on the financial support of the community, could be ready within a few months. Residents had an opportunity to see what’s in store with a preview of the display on the second floor of the Harvey House Friday afternoon. Wood did not intend for this exhibit to be a tribute to him; his goal was to honor his players. But it can’t do that without also giving credit where credit is due.
The players who have been inducted, and those who already have been, will gladly tell you that as they remember Coach Wood.