Former Brownwood assistant coach one of nine members of 2016 class

Former Brownwood Lions assistant coach Kenneth West will be one of nine inductees into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame during a Saturday ceremony at Baylor’s Ferrell Center in Waco.

Six decades will be represented as West, the “1950s and before” inductee, will be joined by Houston Madison’s Vince Young (2000s), Waco University’s LaDanian Tomlinson (1990s), West Orange-Stark’s Kevin Smith (1980s), Euless Trinity’s Mike Baab (1970s) and San Antonio Lee’s Linus Baer (1960). Southlake Carroll’s Bob Ledbetter and Katy’s Gary Joseph are Eddie Joseph/THSFHOF Coach honorees and Craig Way has been named the Dave Campbell Contributor to the Game.

West learned of his inclusion in the class of 2016 in December and in an interview with the Bulletin at the time said, “In Texas, this is the highest honor you can get. It means the world to me.”

West will be the 10th member of the THSFHOF with Brownwood ties, joining former colleagues Gordon Wood and Morris Southall, along with coach W.T. Stapler, Lion players Jimmy Carmichael, Lawrence Elkins, Mike Kinsey, Tommy Vaughn and Jim Thomason; and former Brownwood Bulletin sports writer Bill Stovall.

West credited Wood, who coached him during his senior season at Stamford High School, and Sammy Baugh, who coached him at Hardin-Simmons, for leading him down the Hall of Fame path.

“I would have never gone to college if it wasn’t for Coach Wood,” West said in December. “After my senior year I was looking for a job, I wasn’t thinking about going to college because my family didn’t have the money. He told me I could get a scholarship, and I told him no one is going to give me a scholarship. One week later I was offered, and that changed my life.

“I went on to Hardin-Simmons and Coach Sammy Baugh had just retired from playing pro ball a couple of years earlier. As a senior he called me in and asked if I ever thought about playing pro ball. I told him no, and that I still had 18 hours to get. So he made me a graduate assistant and gave me a full scholarship to pay my way to school.

“If it hadn’t been for those two guys, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here today.”

Looking back on his career, West added, “What stands out to me the most is the players. I’ve got 65-year-old guys that come up and thank me for what I did for them. At the time I never really thought about it, I was just doing my job. But now I know that’s where the reward is. If you’re going to coach, the rewards are helping kids and seeing them grow into fine young men and successful young men. The rewards you get in coaching, I don’t think you can get in any other profession. I thank the Lord for putting people in my life that got me where I am today.”

A press conference and welcoming ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame with the induction banquet to begin at 6 p.m. at the Ferrell Center. Tickets are $45 for adults and $15 for students. Banquet tickets are required to attend the press conference. For tickets, call Tiffany Wilkins at (210) 290-8570 or email tiffnjake@hotmail.com.