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Former football coach shares his plan to win

May 5, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.

Gene Stallings coached professional football for a total of 18 years.

By Marth Jones

Recently, while attending a retired teachers' convention in Arlington, former professional football coach, Gene Stallings, spoke to us and his topic was Plan to Win. He related many stories from his teaching and coaching career through the years and especially those that centered on his special son, Johnny.

"When John Mark Stallings was born, we were extremely happy for about three minutes. Then the doctor told us the baby was Mongoloid, a term that we don't even use nowadays. He changed our world. Even though he could never even count to 10, he was one of our five." Although Johnny was not supposed to live past age 8, he lived to be 46-years-old and died in 2008.

As Johnny grew, Coach Stallings took him to every practice, every scrimmage, and every football game he coached. "We learned from Johnny. He knew every player, never forgot a name and treated everyone the same." You may recall seeing Johnny Stallings on the sidelines, alongside his dad, at University of Alabama, Texas A&M, Phoenix and St. Louis Cardinals' games and the National Championship game in 1992.

When preparing Johnny to meet Tom Landry, Coach Stallings took Johnny aside and said, "Now I will say, 'Coach Landry, I would like for you to meet Johnny. Johnny, this is Coach Landry, and you say, "Hello Coach Landry." Stallings said they rehearsed this about 50 times. When the time came, Stallings said, "Coach Landry I would like for you to meet Johnny. Johnny, this is Coach Landry." Johnny extended his hand and said, "Hi Tom."

Stallings related that many of the young men he coached were the first in their families ever to attend college. Time and time again, the parents would come to him and not even mention football but would say, "Coach, please help him with his books." There is no substitute for knowledge.

Stallings is concerned about the youth of today because he says there is no work ethic. He said he could not remember a time in his life when he did not have a job. His first one was at age 14 in a paper bag factory in Paris, Texas, where he now resides. When told he couldn't have the job because he didn't have any experience he replied, "I've had 14 years of telling the truth, being where I was supposed to be, being on time and minding my parents." He got the job.

As we plan to win, Stallings told about the time he was playing golf with Ben Hogan. He had watched Hogan win the Masters and asked him, "When you win, what goes through your mind?" Hogan replied, "I won because I played good, not because you played bad."

He left us with this thought: "Never confuse activities with accomplishments. Results are what count." Plan to win.

Happy researching family stories.

E-mail mjones@vicad.com. Victoria County Genealogical Society members will research queries requiring extensive study.

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