Bachtel, Reid, Johnson, Thomason comprise Class of 2016
The Gordon Wood Hall of Champions opened its arms to the 17th wave of inductees Saturday night at the First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, as John A. Thomason, Tim Reid, Kevin Bachtel and Bart Johnson were enshrined as the Class of 2016.
Born in 1918 in Rockport, Thomason is a 1935 Brownwood High graduate that played on Lions basketball teams that qualified for the state tournament three consecutive seasons, 1933-35. Thomason also finished third in state in the high hurdles in 1935 under the tutelage of legendary coach Gus Snodgrass. Thomason later accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, where he competed in football, basketball and track until a hip injury halted his career.
Thomason and Snodgrass were instrumental in starting the Bluebonnet Relays in the 1950s, which are still run each spring in Brownwood. When Wood and assistant coach Morris Southall arrived in 1960, Thomason helped organize the Quarterback Club, now known as the Brownwood Athletic Booster Club. As treasurer, he and three others were on the first temporary planning committee in late 1968 for the construction of what is now Gordon Wood Stadium.
“Life’s been good to me,” Thomason said during the induction ceremony. “One of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had is helping people that are coming through high school enjoy the athletics programs like we did.”
Reid, a 1972 graduate of Brownwood High, was a three-sport standout for all three years of his high school career at Brownwood. He was second team all-state as an end in 1971, all-district in basketball in 1970, and a state finalist in 1971 and 1972 in high hurdles, after winning regionals.
He went on play football as a tight end and defensive end for Baylor, but after an injury in his sophomore year he served as a student coach his final two years.
Reid enjoyed a lengthy career as a football coach at the high school and university levels, serving as defensive coordinator in 1976 at Red Oak and as head coach at San Angelo Lake View from 2005-2007. He was a graduate assistant with receivers and tight ends at Texas A&I in Kingsville from 1977-78, offensive coordinator at Navarro College from 1979-81, and offensive coordinator at Angelo State from 1982-2004. Reid is currently the principal at the Central Freshman Campus in San Angelo.
“I had no idea I’d ever be asked to be in this hall of fame,” said Reid, who reflected on his playing days and growing up in Brownwood, while also sharing memories of experiences with the coaching staff. In closing, Reid stated, “I walked in that dressing room a thousand times, but that sign that said ‘the desire to win is useless without the desire to prepare’ has stuck with me forever. That’s been my motto and one I’ve tried to live up to.”
Bachtel, who graduated from Brownwood High in 1993, was a three-year letterman in football and played on the 1992 district championship team. As a junior he led the team in tackles and was selected first team all-district. As a senior, Bachtel was a captain and the leading tackler with an average of 13 tackles per game. He led a defensive unit that allowed an average of only 7.7 points a game. He earned all-district, all-region and all-state honors his final season.
The son of former Lions head coach Mark Bachtel, who was in attendance at the induction, Kevin Bachtel is now the head football coach at Edgewood High School.
“I really feel like I’m not deserving of this, but I’m going to take it anyway,” Bachtel joked during the banquet. “I was only good because of the other players that played and protected me so I could make tackles.
“Great players have come before me and after me. but there’s something about Brownwood. You can go off and coach at other places, you can move your family to different spots, but there’s something about coming back.”
Johnson, a 2006 Brownwood graduate, was voted all-state at cornerback his senior season at Brownwood, but went on to make his mark at TCU as a wide receiver. A preferred walk-on at TCU, Johnson played in all 52 games during his four seasons and still holds the Frogs’ record for consecutive games with a catch at 35. Johnson finished his career with 85 receptions for 1,098 yards and nine touchdowns, including a 23-yarder in the 2011 Rose Bowl that started the scoring in the Frogs’ 21-19 victory over Wisconsin.
Johnson went to sign a rookie free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, but soon thereafter was accepted to the SMU Dedman School of Law where he received his juris doctor. He is not an attorney in Fort Worth.
Johnson also played soccer at Brownwood, as he was named most valuable player in district both his junior and senior years, breaking the record for most goals scored in a season. He was also part of the Lions soccer team with the deepest postseason run in program history.
Johnson credited his father, Bart, and former Lions head coach Steve Freeman for guiding him down the path to the player and person he’s become.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how many passes you caught, how many bowl rings you have, how many championships you’ve won, what really matters is how you treat other people, the character you have when others aren’t looking and the impact you have on other players and other people in this world,” Johnson said. “The Brownwood program, the Brownwood community, my family and friends have taught me how to accomplish those things and for that I’m forever grateful.”