The following article was
written and researched by Scott Myers, Garland High Graduate, Class of 1982
and planned to be part of a book by Charles Cabiness. It is included
here with the permission of Scott Myers.
As fulltime Athletic Director for the Garland ISD, Homer Johnson’s first task was searching for his successor prior to the 1963 season. He found one considered a major winner: Charles “Chuck” Curtis.
A member of the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, Curtis was selected on the basis of putting together a wrecking ball squad from Jacksboro. The Running Rabbits dominated on offense and defense en route to winning the 1962 Class AA state title. His offense averaged 40.1 points per game while his defense allowed nearly three points per contest.
An All-State quarterback at Gainesville in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Curtis played at Texas Christian University and led the Horned Frogs to a Cotton Bowl championship in 1956 over Syracuse and standout running back Jim Brown. Garnering All-Southwest Conference honors in 1955 and 1956, Curtis went on to the Canadian Football League and the National Football League for one full year before turning to coaching high school football.
Starting his coaching career in Holliday in 1958, Curtis led the Eagles to an 8-2 record and barely missed the playoffs. The following year found the youthful coach in Jacksboro turning around a program in the dumps for 10 straight years and culminating in the state title in 1962.
Having succeeded at rebuilding programs from down years, Curtis was ready to step in and make his mark at Garland High School. In the process, his Owls would find a spot in Texas high school football history.
The main core of offensive players for the Owls in 1963 included Jimmy Adams at quarterback, Gary Bridges, Bill Crump and Ron Scoggins at halfbacks, and big Gene Mayes at guard. They would be helped along by support players Don Gordon and Lowell Halpin at ends, Duane Cross and Johnny Klas at guards, Gordon Block at center, Ralph Weaver at fullback, Bubba Moffatt and Delbert Burton at tackles, and Danny Sims at placekicker.
Bridges and Crump would be the featured backs in the I-formation Curtis brought from Jacksboro. The only weakness entering the 1963 season was the offensive line, meaning Curtis would have to use all available players to block efficiently and use man-in-motion, pitchouts and options just to spring the halfbacks open.
Defensively, the Black Knights of Duck Creek would be tough and rough as the offensive unit. This group included mainstays Weaver at defensive end, Mayes and Burton at defensive tackles, Ronnie Cox at defensive end, and Bridges and Phil Jones at defensive back.
Prior to the regular season, Curtis instituted an award for a player’s hard work and extra effort in practice that week leading up to the game: the Red Stripe Helmet. In the week before the opener versus Dallas Thomas Jefferson, helmets were awarded to Bridges, Halpin, Mayes, Crump, Clifton Turner, Weaver, Block, Gary Love, Cox, Klas, Rick Shugart, Cross and Gordon.
Picked to finish no higher than fourth place in District 7-4A, the Owls had the element of surprise against their own opponents. Dallas Thomas Jefferson was considered a heavy favorite in terms of a bigger-sized team, but a wet Williams Stadium and a speedy Owl backfield spelled a 28-0 win for Garland.
After a defensive battle that saw the Owls leading 7-0 at halftime, GHS found the end zone on three straight possessions thanks to Bridges’ 55-yard sprint, Adams’ 62-yard bootleg left, and a short Bridges one-yard dive. In all, Garland’s defense handcuffed the bulkier Rebels to the tune of 103 total yards.
Even with the nice start to the 1963 campaign, Curtis wasn’t resting on his laurels this early in the season. Dallas Bryan Adams was considered the class of Dallas ISD teams and would prove to be a tough customer for the host Owls.
Four more Owls (Sims, Jones, Bubba Moffett, and Weldon Mullins) received a Red Stripe Helmet during the week of preparation for the Cougars. Explosive halfback Terry Pendleton and a stout defense led Bob Cowsar’s squad into the clash with GHS.
Two Crump touchdowns gave Garland an early 12-0 lead, but two misses conversion tries left the door open for the Cougars to make a comeback. Pendleton did the damage with a 66-yard screen pass for six, cutting the lead in half by halftime.
Midway thru the final frame, Bryan Adams struck again on the craziest play of the year. Cougar quarterback Gary Collett hit Jim Murphy on a down-and-out pass play that looked like a tying score – until Phil Jones caught up and jarred the football loose from Murphy.
Mayes had a shot at recovering the football, but kicked it into the end zone where Cougar halfback Rick Slaven outran Mayes for the ball and recovered in the end zone for the tying points. Pendleton’s kick for the outright lead went wide left and neither team posted another score in the 12-12 deadlock.
Sims and the Owls had an opportunity to win the contest, but his 23-yard field goal try went wide right with 1:27 left, Bryan Adams’ last drive reached the Owl 37 before loss of possession on downs, and a last Hail Mary pass for Garland went unanswered to complete the draw between both teams.
The tie with Bryan Adams left just a few mental scars but no major injuries for the Owls heading into their next match, a road trip to the Gopher Bowl and a battle with Grand Prairie. After an off night versus the Cougars, Crump unleashed a monster game versus the Gophers by rushing for 136 yards on nine carries and a 79-yard touchdown blast in the first quarter.
Garland’s defense forced four turnovers to add to the offensive woes of Grand Prairie and even student manager Mike Flanagan got to play in the game as a holder for Sims on the extra point tries as Garland held off the Gophers 23-8.
During preparation week for the McKinney Lions, Curtis awarded three more Red Stripe Helmets to Ron Scoggins, Andy Lipscomb and Delbert Burton. Then it was down to business in focusing on the Lions and standout halfback Charles McKissick.
McKissick was held to 34 yards on 10 carries and the Lions offense gained only 188 yards. Meanwhile, the Black and Gold offense lit it up with 351 yards and had five Owl rushers gain over 20 yards led by Scoggins’ 91 yards on seven carries and a 45-yard dash to clinch the 31-6 Owl win before nearly 12,000 on hand at Williams Stadium.
In preparing for Highland Park, Garland spent three hours in skull session reviewing what the Scots love to do – run the football down the opponent’s throat. During the skull session, Curtis awarded Red Stripe Helmets to Roger Parker, Jerry Butler and Gary Edgar for excellence versus McKinney.
HP was 3-1 and hungry for a return to the playoffs, but the Black and Gold looked to defeat the Scots for the first time ever. Add in this interesting note: The victory cannon used by Garland in signaling a touchdown was disallowed on the Highlander Stadium field prior to the contest. The Highland Park superintendent gave no reason, but any psychological advantage the Owls had for the game was struck down quickly.
With the Scots up 14-7 early in the fourth quarter, the Owls made their move with a 90-yard, 10-play drive culminating in Bridges’ 15-yard dash for six points with 7:51 left in the game. Curtis elected for two and the Owls got it as Adams hit Crump in the flat for the 15-14 lead.
On the next Scots possession, Highland Park head coach Thurmond “Tugboat” Jones rolled the dice on a fourth-and-two running play and lost when the Owls defense yielded one yard. Six plays and 22 yards later, Weaver’s four-yard dive and Sims’ clutch extra point gave Garland a 22-14 lead with 2:47 left in the contest.
Highland Park didn’t blink from the eight-point deficit. Instead, the Scots drove 65 yards on two quick plays to paydirt. After Scots quarterback David Morgan connected on a 16-yard strike downfield, halfback Neal Starkey’s option pass found the waiting arms of reserve receiver Al Mallouf from 49 yards out, whittling the Owls’ cushion to 22-20 with 1:52 left.
The Scots went for two and the tie, but Garland’s defense, led by Mayes and crew wrecked those plans by stuffing Morgan in the backfield. A last gasp onside kick was recovered by Garland and the Owls ran the clock out for a heart-stopping 22-20 win.
Crump tallied 147 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, Weaver added 81 yards on 17 carries and a score, and Bridges contributed 27 yards on nine carries and a score too. Overall, Garland outgained the Scots 283-218…not bad for a road trip to Highland Park.
After Garland’s first-ever win over Highland Park, the Owls might have run out of gas emotionally. But they didn’t. Mesquite attested to that as the Owls blasted the Skeeters 39-0. Scoggins, Weaver, Bridges and Crump accounted for 218 of the team’s 291 yards rushing and the Owl defense intercepted Mesquite seven times in the rout.
After a break in issuing Red Stripe Helmets, Curtis added Flanagan, Paul Englebretson and Don Lawrence to the Helmet brigade. From there, the focus came back onto the Denton Broncos and another road trip, this time to Fouts Field on the North Texas State campus.
The Broncos brought their A game matching score for score with the Owls by halftime. But Garland blew the game open in the second half thanks in part to determined running from Bridges and Weaver. Bridges scored from 28 yards out to give the Owls breathing room, then Weaver added two insurance scores for a 35-13 busting of the Broncos.
Bridges finished with 112 yards on 12 carries and Weaver posted 72 yards on 14 carries. Also assisting the Owls was their defense in forcing five Bronco turnovers – all on lost fumbles.
Next up for the front running Owls were a scrappy bunch of Eagles from Richardson. Prior to prep time for the bird battle, Curtis handed out a Red Stripe Helmet to Steve Rhodes, then it was on to finding ways to get through a tough Richardson defensive line that was considered the toughest unit in defensive play.
Instead it was Garland’s defense that was the toughest. Richardson went one-of-eight passing for two yards and the so-called tough defense was slammed for 329 yards rushing and touchdown runs from Weaver twice and Scoggins once.
Weaver punched out 93 yards on 17 carries and Crump added 77 yards on 17 totes of the football while Scoggins picked up 70 yards on six carries in sealing a 32-7 pasting of the Eagles.
Two more Red Stripe Helmets were issued to Harry Hill and Dickie McCullough prior to skull session work for the Denison Yellowjackets. With the addition of these two backup players, the entire varsity squad now had a Red Stripe Helmet and confidence in making a run for the 7-4A district title.
Denison posed a problem for the Owls. The injury-riddled Jackets played with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm and the attitude of nothing to lose. But they were no match for what the Owls brought to the field.
Led by Bridges’ 111 yards on 11 carries and a 44-yard touchdown run, the Black and Gold shut out the Jackets 20-0. Weaver added 107 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns and the Owl defense allowed 111 yards of offense in capturing the district crown.
Concerns over a strained muscle in Adams’ back led to Curtis sitting down his starting quarterback during preparation week for the regular season finale match with Sherman and their head mentor Joe Boring (who would later coach at Garland as an assistant and a head football coach).
The rest did Adams some good. He threw for 148 yards on 10-of-16 passes; an interception and a 26-yard scoring toss to Halpin. And the running game kept chugging along with Bridges rushing for 136 yards on 11 carries and Weaver adding 61 yards on 13 carries and two one-yard touchdown runs.
Thus, the Owls slid past Sherman 27-7, officially giving the Black and Gold the 7-4A district title and the team’s first postseason berth in three years. It also put the 9-0-1 Owls up in the 4A state polls at #3 behind top-ranked San Angelo and #2 Dallas South Oak Cliff.
A week after completing district play and while scouting bi-district opponents Texarkana Texas High, Tyler Robert E. Lee and Lufkin, Garland High, the city and the entire nation were stunned by the events surrounding the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. Due to the assassination, two district contests were played at a later date (Highland Park beat Sherman 18-0 and Mesquite beat Denison 19-0), but the Richardson-Denton contest was cancelled altogether.
Even with the unforeseen events in Dallas that terrible day, life had to go on for the living while the nation adjusted to the new President, Lyndon B. Johnson. And for Garland High, that meant concentrating on the prospects of a successful playoff run under Curtis. The 1963 squad was the same squad that Homer Johnson had coached the previous year—with a few changes made by Curtis position by position.
The successful turnaround for Garland in 1963 didn’t go unnoticed by the local sports writers. The Dallas Morning News placed 12 Owls on the first-team All-District squad which included Gordon, Cross, Block, Crump, Bridges, Moffatt, Burton, Cox, Jones, Klas, Adams and Scoggins. The Garland Daily News and Times Reporter had seven Owls make the All-District team which included Gordon, Cross, Mayes (made All-District at both guard and linebacker), Block, Crump, Weaver (made All-District at both fullback and defensive end), and Bridges (All-District at defensive back). And The Dallas Morning News had six Owls named to its All-Greater Dallas team which included Block and Weaver on the offensive first team, Gordon and Crump on the offensive second team, and Cross and Mayes on the offensive honorable mentioned team.
Hosting a playoff game at Williams Stadium for the first time since 1955, Garland jumped out to an early lead against Texarkana Texas High and never looked back, rolling to a 58-14 bi-district victory. The Owls rolled up 478 yards of offense and held Texas High to nearly three yards a carry on the ground.
Moving west to Amon Carter Stadium on the Texas Christian University campus in Forth Worth, Curtis’ troops posted another rout by blasting Fort Worth Paschal 34-0 for the regional title. Bridges scored twice including a 64-yard interception return and rushed for 101 yards in pounding the Panthers, a team that shocked top-ranked Dallas South Oak Cliff the week before.
A frigid day in Amarillo’s Rebel Stadium greeted the Owls in its state semifinal match with host Amarillo Tascosa, a team that had its football program built by former Owls head coach Bill Ellington. Garland could only muster 126 yards of total offense, but managed to put together a third quarter drive that ended on a Bridges’ five-yard dash to tie the game. Sims’ extra point (which was inches from being blocked) proved to be the game-winner in a 7-6 squeaker.
Garland’s 1963 odyssey concluded December 21 at Memorial Stadium in Austin against Corpus Christi Miller. The Owls struck early on a Sims 31-yard field goal, then followed it up with two second-half touchdowns from Weaver and Bridges for a 17-0 decision and the Class AAAA state title. Weaver finished with 100 yards rushing on 16 carries and was named the title game’s MVP.
For the year, Crump led the Owls in rushing with 1060 yards on 157 carries and seven touchdowns followed by Bridges with 920 yards on 144 carries and 11 touchdowns and Weaver with 874 yards on 164 carries and 17 touchdowns.
As a testament to the team’s brilliant season, Garland finished fourth in the nation among high school football teams while the Texas Sportswriters Association named Curtis Coach of the Year.
In defending their state title, the 1964 Owls faced more of a difficult season in many ways. One was the addition of a new high school, South Garland, opening for business (and losing a great assistant coach in O’Day Williams from Garland High to South Garland) in the fall of 1964.
Another was the addition of Paris and Carrollton High School to District 7-4A during the annual redistricting/realignment process, meaning instead of four non-district games to prepare for district play, there would only be two non-district contests.
But with a stout lineup in returning offensive players led by tackles Cross and Edgar, guards Mayes and Love, center Wheat, ends Halpin and Luman, quarterback Adams, halfbacks Crump and Scoggins and fullbacks Turner and Parker, the offense was good to go.
As for the talent on defense, Curtis had an abundant amount. Collins, Cross, Turner, Cox, Wheat and Luman manned the front line. Linebackers were solid again for the Owls with Mayes (the best player on the team) and Shugart ready for action. And the defensive backfield was also solid with Jones, Crump, Don Jacobs, Butler, Scoggins and Parker back to cover the opponent’s passing game.
Sims had handled kicking duties in 1963, but with him graduating those duties landed placekicking wise on the shoulders of Collins and punting wise on the leg of David Green.
Prior to the season opener against Dallas Bryan Adams, Curtis called a meeting after workouts concerning the team’s morale. With 28 seniors on the roster, Curtis was concerned about his team’s focus on the season and resting on the laurels from the 1963 state title run.
The fears were well founded as Bryan Adams forced five turnovers from Garland. But the Owls defense held the Cougars to 135 yards and forced three turnovers as well. And Adams threw for 185 yards on seven-of-13 passing and two scores, both to Scoggins, as the Owls shutout Bryan Adams 23-0.
Dallas Samuell posed another challenge for the Owls in size advantage by an average of 15-20 pounds per player and a speedy backfield. The Owl defense wasn’t impressed or intimidated, holding the Spartan rushing attack to 50 yards on 28 carries.
Scoggins went on a rushing rampage totaling 174 yards on nine carries and touchdown runs of 63 and 66 yards on a wet field. Adams went four-for-six passing for 96 yards and three touchdown tosses and backup quarterback Green went five-of-nine for 68 yards and a touchdown toss to reserve receiver Steve Mitchell as Garland creamed Samuell 44-6.
Mesquite offered a mystery to the Owls. They had played one game prior to the district opener with Garland and were getting use to a new head coach, former McKinney head mentor Charles Qualls. Thus Curtis had concern about the contest being a trap game and rightfully so.
Crump was out of action for the Mesquite game with a twisted knee suffered versus Dallas Samuell, leaving GHS vulnerable at both halfback and defensive back. And Scoggins added to the Owl tale of woe with three lost fumbles to Mesquite.
But when he was able to hold onto the football, Scoggins picked up 66 yards on 11 totes and a touchdown. Adams found better success throwing the football against Mesquite, going 10-of-15 for 143 yards and a touchdown as GHS escaped with a 16-8 win.
After the Houdini-like move against Mesquite, Richardson looked like the cure for whatever was ailing the Owls in the Skeeter battle. Adams continued his hot hand throwing the football with a seven-for-14 effort for 95 yards and three touchdowns…and it should have been four had not a mental error made on a blocking assignment on the first play of the game.
That type of mistake didn’t come back to haunt Garland as they blasted Richardson 43-6, but it was there to prove a point Curtis had made to his team before the season opener versus Bryan Adams. What saved the 1964 team were three factors: overall depth, explosive offense and championship defense. All three areas would be needed in some tight contests that were soon to come.
Paris was such a team that could upset the Owl playoff wagon and had their contest even at halftime 14-all. But Garland rallied in the second half thanks to two late touchdown runs from Scoggins for a 32-14 win. Scoggins finished with 79 yards on 15 carries and three scores.
Carrollton was next and managed to shut down Scoggins (13 carries for 19 yards and no touchdowns), but the Lions couldn’t shut down Turner (10 carries for 30 yards and three rushing touchdowns) and Adams (nine-of-15 for 113 yards and a touchdown). Jacobs’ 95-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed a 35-0 Owl rout and set up the showdown date with Highland Park, this time at Williams Stadium.
With over 14,000 in attendance, the Owls-Scots battle was a thriller with the Scots never trailing the entire contest. Scots quarterback David Morgan was a perfect nine-of-nine passing for 114 yards and three touchdowns. Adams was seven-of-17 for 150 yards, but Scoggins was bottled up for 74 yards on 11 carries and a score.
Turner’s two-yard dash brought Garland within 20-14 with 7:24 left in the game…but Highland Park proceeded to grind out the clock and hand the Owls their first loss in 20 games.
After the game, Scots head coach Thurmond “Tugboat” Jones spoke with Curtis and told him that the Owls would benefit from this loss and win state again, noting that Garland had a championship-caliber ball club. How prophetic those words would be later in the year.
After Highland Park scuttled the 19-game winning streak of the Owls, Garland felt the pressure to win eased off a bit. But Denison wouldn’t be an easy pushover. After allowing a Jacobs 85-yard opening kickoff return, the Jackets forced a fumble to end the early march.
But that’s where the Owls grabbed hold of the contest with Adams doing the honors. His arm connected on six-of-14 throws for 200 yards and touchdown tosses to Scoggins and Parker. Turner added 185 yards on 12 carries and another score as the Owls smote the Jackets 31-0.
Despite four interceptions thrown by Adams, the Sherman Bearcats were steam rolled by the 1-2 punch of Scoggins and Turner. Scoggins scratched out 146 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns and Turner posted 121 yards on 14 totes and also two scores in the 35-0 stomping of the Cats. Cox capped the night with an 85-yard interception return for another score, thanks in part to reserve defensive tackle Steve “Stump” Rhodes. Rhodes got his hands on the quarterback and forced the errant throw into Cox’ hands for the long return.
Denton fans among the 15,000 at Fouts Field witnessed one of the best rushing performances in school history as Scoggins picked up 276 yards on 20 carries and touchdown runs of one, 54, 60 and 13 yards highlighting a 51-7 smashing of the Broncos.
In all, the Owls amassed 510 yards of offense while Denton could muster only 116. In clinching the district 7-4A title again, Garland got a bi-district rematch with host Texarkana Texas High.
Nearly 6,000 fans packed Grim Stadium to watch what would be another classic finish in 1964. Texas High, still remembering the 58-14 loss to Garland in 1963, turned the tables on GHS and held onto a sizable 16-13 lead with 9:44 remaining in the fourth quarter and driving for what would have been the “final nail in the coffin” touchdown.
And the Owls could have been eliminated from a repeat state title had it not been for the heroics of Mayes, Adams and Scoggins in those minutes. Mayes halted a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak by Steve Copeland, giving the Owls the ball back…but facing 99 yards to go, no timeouts and just 3:28 left in the game.
Adams arrived into the Owls huddle, telling his teammates, “Never fear, old Jimbo is here.” Within seconds, confidence seemed easy in overcoming the three-point deficit…even with 99 yards to go.
Adams opened the winning drive with a 41-yard pass to Scoggins down the middle. After a 14-yard pass by the duo, three straight incompletions set up a fourth down situation with Curtis calling for a pass play to reserve receiver Henry Luman.
Luman’s 13-yard catch set the Owls up at Texarkana’s 16 and after an incomplete pass out of bounds to stop the clock, Adams fed Scoggins the ball four more times on the student body sweep (with Mayes being the student body). Scoggins’ fourth straight carry was for three yards and the game-winning score with just 36 seconds left. Texarkana’s last desperation drive went for naught and Garland escaped Texas High with a 20-16 bi-district thriller…the best high school game ever played by a Garland High team to date.
The Owls followed the close-shave upset try by Texas High with a 21-7 regional championship win over Fort Worth Paschal, led by Scoggins’ 23rd touchdown of the year and Adams rushing for a touchdowns and throwing for another one. This game was close on the stats with Garland having an edge in total yards, 277-255. Turner rushed for 97 yards on 21 carries and Scoggins posted 61 yards on 20 carries.
Amarillo Tascosa stood in the way of the Garland juggernaut reaching the Class 4A state title game again, this time the state semifinal contest held at the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park in Dallas. Scoggins supplied the scoring punch with three rushing touchdowns, giving him 26 on the season, along with 103 yards rushing on 21 carries and the defense shut down the Rebels for a 21-7 win. It was during this game that the school’s cannon used to signal a Garland touchdown was officially retired when it misfired, sending a few students to the hospital. The cannon muzzle was cemented permanently and now sits chained up and in front of the high school’s main entrance.
Galena Park, from near Houston, took on the Owls for the Class 4A state title at Rice Stadium on December 19 and the twosome tangled tooth and nail. The Yellowjackets jumped out to a 14-0 lead early, but the Owls countered with Adams and Scoggins posting touchdowns on the board to tie the game at halftime.
Bill Fleming scored to put Galena Park back in front, but the Owls rallied again with Adams connecting on a five-yard pass to Luman. The conversion try failed, leaving GHS down by one. Garland’s next possession was assisted by the punishing running of Scoggins and Clifton Turner and ended on an Adams one-yard keeper midway thru the fourth quarter, but Hugh Collins’ extra point try was wide of the mark again…leaving Galena Park some room for a last-gasp comeback.
But it wouldn’t happen on this night. The Owls defense stuffed the Jackets twice in the final six minutes, including an interception of a Charlie Riggs pass by Don Jacobs with 39 seconds left for a 26-21 win and a repeat Class 4A state title.
Scoggins led the Owls in rushing with 1222 yards on 188 carries and 21 touchdowns. His 27 touchdowns overall tied the mark set by Bobby Boyd in 1955. Meanwhile, Adams led GHS in passing with 76-of-154 for 1443 yards, 14 interceptions and 15 touchdowns. Scoggins led Garland in receiving with 541 yards on 25 catches and six touchdowns.
All-District honors followed for 10 Owls from The Garland Daily News and The Dallas Morning News as each paper listed the same player. Included on the All-District team were Adams, Scoggins, Mayes, Cross and Halpin on offense and Mayes, Turner and Ronnie Cox on defense. Center Denny Wheat and tackle Gary Love also made All-District as honorable mentioned members.
All-Greater Dallas teammates, as named by The Dallas Morning News, from GHS included Scoggins, Mayes and Cross on offense and Mayes and Cox on defense. Adams, Wheat and Halpin made the All-Greater Dallas honorable mentioned list.
For the Owls, winning two straight state titles was something to brag about. For Curtis, it marked three straight state titles with two different schools and an incredible 26-1-1 mark at GHS. The Garland mentor also joined, at that time, Waco’s Paul Tyson, Amarillo High’s Blair Cherry and Abilene’s Chuck Moser as the only coaches to win three straight state crowns.
But with success comes a move to the next level. And for the Owls, it would mean good-bye to Curtis. Nearly three weeks after winning the state title, rumors circulated that Curtis was to accept an assistant coaching position on Hayden Fry’s staff at Southern Methodist University in the Southwest Conference. The rumor became fact days later as Curtis formally resigned from Garland High School for SMU.
Curtis had been seriously looking at an athletic director position at either Odessa Permian or Odessa High, but the SMU offer was more enticing for the 29-year-old head coach. His departure ended the incredible two-year run at Garland and the glory days for the Black Knights of Duck Creek.