Erath County United Way presents ‘An Evening with Art Briles’

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City Hall at City Limits was filled to capacity to hear what Art Briles had to say.

 

By RUSSELL HUFFMAN|
TheFlashToday.com

STEPHENVILLE (February 8, 2015) — Coach Art Briles came home Saturday evening for a long overdue celebration of his accomplishments while at Stephenville High School, and the event, a fundraiser for Erath County United Way, was a huge hit.

The crowd stretched the occupancy of City Hall at City Limits to its capacity as people bearing titles like  state representative, mayor, university president, as well as the majority in attendance who bore the best title of the evening – “Just a friend/fan of Art Briles.”

Briles, who won four state titles while at Stephenville, has truly become the stuff of “Legend” as his football career continues to advance to this day with him leading the Baylor Bears to back-to-back Big 12 championships and national prominence.

Saturday evening wasn’t about Briles’ accomplishments in the college ranks that have included stops at Texas Tech, Houston and now Baylor, but instead about the influence and leadership he brought to Stephenville.

Former state senator Bob Glasgow opened the evening speaking about the impact of the “Briles family” upon the community of Stephenville and the effect it had throughout the schools.

“I am still amazed that even today I see the effects that the Briles family had on our community,” Glasgow said. “The influence that Art had on this community has now spread throughout the nation.”

Glasgow explained “An Evening with Art Briles” was an event which was long overdue. Briles’ departure from Stephenville was on a fast timetable, and scheduling throughout the years has not made such an event possible until Saturday’s function that was the brainchild of United Way’s Lisa Scroggins.

Glasgow gave way to the evening’s master of ceremonies, coach Mike Copeland, who served as Briles’ defensive coordinator for those four state titles, and who also was head coach at Stephenville after Briles’ departure.

Copeland provided a bevy of stories including several related in Briles’ top selling book “Looking Up: My Journey From Tragedy to Triumph.” But, it was Copeland’s insights into Briles and his coaching style away from the public eye that testified to his love and respect for his friend. That didn’t mean Copeland wasn’t going to have a little fun.

“If you’ve read his book, I’m going to set the stories straight today,” Copeland said before recalling a story about a three-man golf scramble involving Briles, Mike Lebby (head coach in Dublin at the time) and himself.

“The bad thing about it was we all three thought we were the “A” player.” Copeland recalled.  “The event was held in Rising Star (or some other big town) and a lady came out explaining her husband had only one leg and therefore teed off on the women’s tee box.”

The woman in charge felt Copeland (who was just one arm) should also be allowed to tee up from the lady’s box. Copeland, a pretty decent ball striker, let her know he has been playing golf his whole life and he wasn’t about to hit off the women’s tee box.

“I’m the “A” player in this group!” Copeland declared. Once the lady walked away Briles began to chide Copeland, letting his pride get in the way and declaring they “could have won it” if Copeland had agreed. The story drew laughter. as did several throughout the remainder of the evening. There were also plenty of heartfelt moments along the way.

“Coach you are the greatest ‘dream maker’ in the world and we all greatly appreciate it, Copeland said.

Below are scenes from the event and Briles comments on the evening.

Click here to listen to Coach Art Briles speech!

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Coach Mike Copeland entertained the crowd as “master of ceremonies” and relayed a couple of Briles’ stories athe kept the crowd laughing. He called Briles “The Greatest Dream Maker” he had ever know. Copeland was the officially appointed “Hollar Coach” throughout Briles’ time in Stephenville — unless the “hollaring” was at officials which Briles has a national reputation for chewing on.
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Steven and Laurie Lively wait for their seats at An Evening with Art Briles presented by the Erath County United Way.
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Vickie Pettit (l-r), Amber Lemons and Dr. Robert Barberee were on hand for the Erath County United Way’s An Evening with Art Briles.
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Coach Art Briles did his best to work his way throughout the large crowd in attendance. Here he is shown chatting with Donnie Bramlett (middle) and Greg Bruner.
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Tarleton State University president Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio and his wife Dr. C. Lisette Dottavio get in a quick snapshot with coach Art Briles
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The evening was opened with a prayer from July Danley with the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce.
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Bob Glasgow opened the evening and explained the event was long overdue especially when considering the Briles family’s influence upon Stephenville which exists to this day.
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Anybody see a vacant seat?
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Steve Steed provided insight into the start of the “Stephenville Can Fans” and also chided Briles about needing to workout out more. Steed then gifted Briles with push up device for workouts on the go. Briles was quick to point out he wasn’t wearing a muscle shirt like Steed was for the evening which drew howls of laughter.
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Susy Warren was the only female speaker of the evening and carried the torch for moms everywhere. With two sons playing over a five-year-straight period Warran recalled the time and thanked Jan Briles for all she did in her time in Stephenville calling her, “a very special woman.”
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Stephenville athletic hall of fame member Kris Terrill explained the Briles’ experience wasn’t just about being on the football field. But instead it was about being in the locker room, lifting weights, talking about life and being mentored by a great man who cared about his athletes.
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All-Stater Jason Bragg turned back the clock and recalled a couple of stories about Briles. The best one being where he misunderstood about what to do on a punt play and scored a 70-yard touchdown. Stephenville was already winning so it looked like SHS was running up the score. Briles while madly waving his arms told Bragg to pretend he was being chewed out, for not doing as instructed.
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Mitch Copeland explained Briles has been a major influence in his life and that lessons learned have carried over into his personal life and business.
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“Things are going to be different with this man,” Bob Cervetto said. “I went home and told my wife I think I will be getting home later from now on.” When Briles spoke he talked about how it was Cervetto at the junior high level who first put the ball he also asked if Cervetto was considering a now vacant head coaching job at SHS.
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Coffee with Coach has been a Stephenville mainstay for 22 years and Boots Elliott (KSTV FM) and Art Briles were the originators of the informative program which reviews the past week before looking at the upcoming opponent. Blending football talk and humor — it was like they had never left off as they dropped right back into routine.
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The football gospel as spoken by Coach Art Briles.
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Laughs and smiles and Jan and Art Briles are presented with gifts.

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A banner evening.
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Some momentoes from the evening.
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Newly named police chief Jason King and Mayor Pro Tem Russ McDanel were on hand for the evening’s fun.
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