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Monday, August 27, 2012

An astonishing record of achievement from the west Texas plains

Coaches Tippy and Patty Browning with members of the LHS volleyball team after 900th career win (photo credit Lamesa Press-Reporter)Everyone thinks his hometown is special.

Everyone's right.

My hometown of Lamesa, Texas, is special in many ways, and I'm prompted today to put aside politics and law and everything else I usually blog about to extend my warm congratulations to two long-time Lamesans for reaching an amazing pair of career milestones:

Last Friday night, the Lamesa High School Golden Tornado girls' volleyball team beat Van Horn in the Crane Tournament. It was the nine hundredth career victory for Patty and Tippy Browning, twins who've been coaching Lamesa High School girls' athletics teams for forty-five years:

The Vega natives, 900-448 through Friday, made history and have collected a lot of accolades while coaching in Class 3A and 4A before moving to Class 2A this season. The sister duo has earned 21 district championships, and a UIL Class 4A state championship in 1986 along the way.

But the Brownings were quick to divert the individual praise to, what they both said, was a more vital cast of characters.

"The 900th win isn’t the important thing," Tippy Browning said. "The important thing is the history. Without history you don’t have tradition. That tradition is what I feel got us 900 wins. It’s not our 900 wins, it’s 900 wins for the countless student-athletes that have come into our program and created that great tradition and pride."

The Brownings are ranked No. 14 on the all-time active coaching wins list according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Over their coaching career, the Brownings have averaged 20 wins per season, which is a level of consistency most coaches never reach.

I recall when another legendary Lamesa coach, the late and much-loved O.W. Follis, reached his 800th career win as the Golden Tors' head basketball coach; by the time he retired in 1982, he'd gathered 857 career wins. The Brownings' career win total is just as amazing a statistic, and they certainly share the same very rare company.

A Lamesa store window supports the Golden TorsAs amazing as such statistics are on their face, it's what they imply, the story they merely hint at, that is genuinely astonishing. But with just a moment's reflection, anyone who's ever been, or known, a high-school girl can immediately appreciate the patience, the dedication, the love of teaching and of sports, that these numbers bespeak.

Lamesa is a small town, and I live on the far side of Texas from it now. But I'm tickled that the internet and social networking lets me keep track of this kind of news, and I'm happy to extend my congratulations to Coach Browning and Coach Browning! There are a lot of Lamesa ex-pats scattered all over Texas and beyond who are very proud to help you both celebrate this accomplishment.

Posted by Beldar at 09:40 PM in Sports, Texas | Permalink


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(1) Boyd made the following comment | Aug 27, 2012 10:29:00 PM | Permalink

It kinda feels like we used to play y'all when I was at Brownwood (Class of '74), but then again, I can't recall going that far west for a football game (or anything else for that matter, but there really wasn't much beyond football back then).

Am I making stuff up in my brain, or does that sound familiar to you, too?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 27, 2012 10:31:57 PM | Permalink

Brownwood was always in a different division from Lamesa, Boyd. Under the old UIL classifications from when I was there in the 1970s, Lamesa was 3A and Brownsville was 4A. That was a lucky thing for us, too, since Brownwood was always a regional, and often state, powerhouse in almost all UIL competitions.

It was not uncommon for Lamesa High kids to participate in various sports playoffs and other UIL competitions in Brownwood, though, so you might very well have seen Lamesa Golden Tornado buses and uniforms and such.

(3) DRJ made the following comment | Aug 30, 2012 9:18:10 AM | Permalink

Small towns rule.

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