Hedrick announces retirement after 44 years as a high school football coach

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- Mike Hedrick is one of a few high school coaches in the state of Texas given the opportunity to coach as his alma mater.

In 2017 he became just the 11th head coach all time to win 300 career games.

He has been a football coaching fixture in the Brazos Valley for four decades and Thursday afternoon told his current players that he was going to retire after 44 years as a head coach.

Back in the 50's he was a running back and quarterback for the Lions playing for his dad Joe Hedrick. Being around the field house as a kid and player with his dad rubbed off as he also became a football coach.

After six years being a junior high coach, varsity assistant and head coach at Chapel Hill. Hedrick took a job at Leon High School guiding the Cougars to the playoffs 10 times during 26 years.

"I came into Leon I remember that and we were not very good for a couple of years and then I got kids that bought in you know. Had some coaches that bought in and it kinda transformed and we became a winning team," said Hedrick.

It would take something special to leave that success in Jewett and it happened in 2005 when driving south instead of north on highway 79 took Mike back to Fanklin to coach a Lions program that was on the decline.

"It was a great challenge to me, but our kids bought in. The first year was a tough year I think we were maybe 5 and 5 or something."

It was actually 3 and 6. The only losing season he would have at Franklin. They made the playoffs in 2007 and have made the playoffs for 13 straight seasons. Jake Russ is now the boys' head basketball coach at Franklin and was the quarterback on the 2-thousand 8 team that advanced to the third round of the playoffs that season.

"Coach Hedrick and his father are legends around here for a reason. The offense they run. The effort they put in. The coaching they put in. They get results," added Russ.

Coach Hedrick had the opportunity to coach for a state championship in 20-15, but lost to Waskom 33-21. While he would have loved to have won that game. It was one of only 163 that he lost in 44 years on the sidelines.

"'That's all I've done in my career. I've coached football and without it I don't know what I'll do," concluded Hedrick.'

He'll most likely get reacquainted with his fishing pole and golf clubs, and this fall will certainly take in some games in Franklin at the stadium that bears his family's name. Where his dad Joe Senior coached for 36 years. Where is brother Joe Junior and son William are are still assistant coaches carrying on the Hedrick coaching legacy.>"