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If you keep score where it matters, HISD’s coaches are always winners

2013 December 12

Reagan HS head varsity coach Stephen Dixon (Photo by Michael Sudhalter/The Leader News)

For our coaches in HISD, winning is about a lot more than racking up points and titles. Reagan’s head varsity coach, Stephen Dixon, is a perfect example of that.

Yes, he led the Bulldogs to their first district title in 54 years. Yes, he was in the finals for the Touchdown Club’s Coach of the Year honor for the Houston area this week. But Coach Dixon’s real accomplishment – that of all our coaches – is in creating pride and a spirit of success that can spread throughout an entire school community. Dixon’s boss, HISD Athletic Director Marmion Dambrino, thinks Dixon’s accomplishment at Reagan is a model.

“What’s going on at Reagan High School needs to be going on at each high school,” she says. “When you have 1,101 kids transferring into your school from nine other high schools, there is a reason.”

Reagan’s title after a more than a half-century improves not only the athletic programs, but all other programs at the school, as well, says Dambrino: “Teaching and learning take place in an atmosphere that is positive for kids and one that they enjoy.”

Dixon not only put in overtime at Reagan, but visited and went to games at the middle schools in Reagan’s attendance zone, building relationships with students, parents, and other coaches. He’s received media attention this year, but the Reagan community knows that building a winning team, and an increasingly engaged school community, was a four-year process. “Success” – in the standard definition – actually started in 2012 when the Bulldogs made the playoffs. It was a preview of coming attractions for this season.

HISD knows the importance of our coaches – and we have some of the best around – as teachers, mentors, counselors to our young women and men. They make sure their players meet academic standards, mindful that sometimes, athletics are what’s keeping an at-risk student in school. They impart valuable life lessons about grace in victory and dignity in defeat, about collaboration, dedication and persistence.

The influence of a great coach, like Stephen Dixon, reaches outside the locker room. We all feel it.

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