Coach Wood found his last head coaching position at Brownwood, Texas High School in 1960. Coach Southall followed Wood to Brownwood, and the two finished their careers together with the Lions. A few years later, Coach West would also reunite with Coaches Wood and Southall. West coached for Coach Wood until being promoted to an assistant principal in 1984.
The Brownwood Lions had long been on the losing side of the football field, only winning one district championship between 1920 and 1959. 1960 was Coach Wood's first year in Brownwood and he brought the team a 13-1 season. Temple was the only loss the Lions received that year and Brownwood easily claimed the district title for the first time in many years. The Lions went undefeated in the playoffs and won their first state championship, beating Port Lavaca Calhoun 26 to 6 for the state crown.
In 1961, Terry Southall, the first of Coach Southall's three sons, suited out for the Brownwood varsity squad. Coach Wood's team won eight games that season with one loss in non-district play, but a tie with Breckenridge also meant a tie for the district title. Breckenridge advanced to the state playoffs on penetrations, while the Lions turned in their gear. In 1962, Brownwood went undefeated in the regular season with Terry Southall leading the way at quarterback. The Lions scored one playoff victory before losing to Dumas 36-18 in the state quarterfinals and ending the season with eleven wins and one loss. 1963 produced a winning season for Brownwood, but two losses to Stephenville and Wichita Falls Rider kept them out of the state finals. The Lions ended the season with eight wins and two losses. 1964 was also a winning season, but seven wins wasn't enough that year. A tie with Graham and two losses to Cleburne and Wichita Falls Hirschi left Brownwood players sitting at home for another playoff series.
In 1965, Coach Wood picked up a tip from Coach Pete Elliot and converted his Lions' defense to Elliot's "Illinois Defense". The change paid off well, and Brownwood was six games into the season before another team scored. Coach Wood's team won fourteen games to claim the district title and their second state championship without a loss on their record. Si Southall, Coach Southall's second son, joined the Lions' varsity squad the following season in 1966. Southall led the team at quarterback to eight victories, but losses to Abilene Cooper and Vernon cost Brownwood another shot at the playoffs. 1967 proved to be a better year. Brownwood suffered their first loss to Abilene Cooper and tied Wichita Falls Hirschi 21 to 21, but with Si Southall and thirteen returning lettermen leading the way, Brownwood captured twelve more wins and their third state championship before they turned in their gear in December.
The 1968 Brownwood Lions opened the season with a loss to Abilene Cooper followed by a win over Fort Worth Trimble Tech and a second loss to Wichita Falls Washington. Brownwood went undefeated in district play and faced Washington again in the district championship game. This time Coach Wood's Lions defeated the Leopards to secure another district title, but Brownwood lost the first game of the playoffs to Lubbock Estacado 49-0, ending their season with nine wins and three losses. 1969 was Coach Wood's tenth season at Brownwood, and he brought the Lions another winning season. Early losses to Abilene Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, and Abilene nearly stopped the Lions, but Coach Wood led the team to an undefeated district season and another district title. Brownwood capped off the season with a 21 to 12 victory over Bonham for Brownwood's fourth state title in Coach Wood's ten-year tenure.
The third Southall son, Shae, joined the squad in 1970, and Coach Wood was able to bring him and the other Lions to another winning season. After losing the opening game to Abilene Cooper, Brownwood claimed victories over twelve opponents and won another district title. A tie to Monahans nearly cut Brownwood's playoff tour short, but Brownwood advanced on penetrations and defeated Cuero 14 to 0 to claim the Lion's fifth state crown. This was Coach Wood's second set of back-to-back state championships. After the season ended, the city of Brownwood decided to set aside a special day for Coach Wood. On 1971-05-14, he was honored at a ceremony where he was accompanied by former players, coaches, senators, representatives, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, UT's Head Coach Darrell Royal, and even former President Lyndon Johnson, who was the key speaker at the ceremony.
The 1971 season opened with two losses to Abilene Cooper and Abilene High, but Coach Wood left no disappointment the rest of the season, and the Lion's claimed their fifth straight district title. Coach Wood was able to get his team as far as the state semifinals, where they were defeated 10 to 8 by Plano. In 1972, Brownwood opened their season in the newly built Cen-Tex Stadium. Abilene Cooper upset the stadium's christening with a 27 to 13 victory over the Lions. The next week Sweetwater cost Brownwood another loss. Iowa Park and Burkburnett also defeated the Lions before the season finally ended. Even though Brownwood had a winning season with six wins, those four losses cost them their long held district title and their shot at the state playoffs. In 1973, Brownwood defeated Abilene Cooper for the first time in seven years. The Lions would go on to take nine more victories, but a loss to Wichita Falls Hirschi cost them the state playoffs. The district championship was declared a tie, but because they had defeated Brownwood, Hirschi advanced to the state playoffs.
In 1974, Brownwood lost their season opener to Abilene Cooper, but went undefeated the rest of the season to claim the district championship. They won two playoff games before tying Gainesville at 20. Gainesville advanced to the finals on first downs, and the Lions turned in their equipment. In 1975, Coach Wood suited out his son, Jim Wood, at the end position. That year, Brownwood lost their opening game to Abilene Cooper, and a loss to Perryton in district play cost the Lions the district title. The 1977 season fared better. After an undefeated season, the Lions clinched the district title and advanced through the state playoffs only to lose the state championship game to Dickinson, 40 to 28. In 1978, Brownwood lost the opening game to Abilene Cooper, but that game was later forfeited and Brownwood went undefeated the rest of the season to reclaim the district title. Coach Wood led the team to their sixth state championship with an undefeated record of fifteen wins.
Wood opened up the 1979 season with a loss to Abilene Cooper. The Lions suffered a second loss to San Angelo Lake View, but Coach Wood was able to scratch nine more wins on his record to claim the district title. The Lions won their first playoff game only to lose, 15 to 11 to Beaumont Hebert in the state quarterfinals. The next season, Coach Wood lost the opening games to Abilene Cooper and Breckenridge. The Lions would tie another non-conference game to Weatherford at 0 before going undefeated the rest of the season and claiming another district title. 1980 also played another role in Brownwood's history, as Cen-Tex Stadium was renamed Gordon Wood stadium. The Lions inaugurated the stadium's new name with a 34 to 7 victory over Stephenville on October 24. After the regular season, Wood's Lions won the opening round of the playoffs against Wichita Falls Hirschi, but lost to Lubbock Estacado 14 to 0 in the quarterfinals. The Lions turned in their gear with eight wins, three losses, and one tie.
Wood started the 1981 season with a loss to Abilene Cooper, but that would be the only loss the Lions would see that season. Brownwood went on to win thirteen victories to claim another district title and their seventh state championship. The Lions opened up the next season with their first win over Abilene Cooper since 1977. That game was also historical because it was Wood's 366th win, which tied Red Franklin's record set back in 1958. When Brownwood won their next game over Weatherford, Coach Wood became the winningest high school football coach in the United States with 367 wins. Although his team lost to San Angelo Central and another loss to Cleburne (9-3 at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, est attendance of 38,000 fans) cost the Lions their district crown the UIL passed a new rule in 1982, which allowed two teams from each district to advance to the state playoffs. Brownwood took the second place spot, but lost their first game in the playoffs to Gainesville, 14 to 12. Wood's team put away their cleats with nine wins and three losses.
In 1983, Coach Wood suffered non-conference losses to Abilene Cooper and San Angelo Central, and a 30-3 home, district loss to the Cleburne Yellow Jackets cost Brownwood's Lions the district title. Wood won the rest of the regular season games that year finishing with eight wins, but Brownwood lost a nail-biter to Vernon 11 to 6 in the first playoff game. Wood took the Lions to six more wins in 1984, but losses to Cleburne, Abilene Cooper, and Everman, and a tie with the Killeen Kangaroos left Brownwood in third place in their conference. The Lions had to sit out the 1984 playoff season. Wood lost three regular season games in 1985 to Killeen, Joshua, and the Cleburne Yellow Jackets. But the Lions tied for second place in their district and made it into the state playoffs. Brownwood defeated Mineral Wells in the first playoff game, but lost to Lubbock Estacado 29 to 28 in the quarterfinals. That was Wood's last game and he ended the season with eight wins and four losses. Wood spent twenty-six seasons at Brownwood before he retired at the age of 71. Altogether at Brownwood, Coach Wood won 15 district championships, 2 co-district championships, seven state championships, and gained a record of 257 wins, 52 losses, and 7 ties, an 82% winning record.
Read more about this topic: Gordon Wood (American Football Coach)
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