Assistant Football Coach Reflects Upon Recent Honors, Career
May 22, 2015 01:36PM
● By Kevin
Carroll Dragon offensive coordinator Clayton George was recently honored by the National Football Federation Gridiron Club of Dallas.
"I was very honored and very humbled to receive that award," he said. "I’m fortunate to work with a lot of great coaches and be able to coach a lot of great kids; great players, good students. It’s always nice when recognition comes your way and I completely give all the credit to the rest of our staff and our players."
George was named the 2015 Assistant Coach of the Year and was honored during an April 6 banquet.
"It was very nice," he recalled. "It was an honor to be there in the company of a lot of great high school athletes. It was a great night. It was great coming here in Southlake back in 2000, which was the first time I was here. Coach [Bob] Ledbetter was the [athletic director] here at Southlake. He was honored at the banquet also with the Legends award. It was an honor for me to be in the same program with Coach Ledbetter, and what he’s meant to Southlake football and Carroll. He was a role model to me and I seek advice from him a lot."
Also in attendance were many local college coaches, and former Dallas Cowboy D. D. Lewis, who George recalls watching. Southern Methodist University's Chad Morris was the keynote speaker, who spoke to athletes and honorees alike. Carroll head football coach Hal Wasson attended, along with George's wife, Angie, who has served Carroll Elementary as assistant principal for the past 7 years. George's mother and sister also attended in support.
George returned to Carroll in 2010 and has nearly two decades of high school and college coaching experience. This season he helped lead the Dragons to a 13-1 record and Class 6A Division II region finalist finish.
"I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of great players and coaches," he said of his long career. "I’ve had a lot of guys I’ve looked up to to influence me to get into the coaching profession. Once I’ve been in it, the players you’re around and are able to coach on a daily basis make you a better coach. I enjoy the teaching part of this game. I love to break down film, the opponent, to study the game.
"To be able to evolve, be a learner, finding new things to make me a better coach throughout these 20 years doing this. That’s always fun. The challenge of trying to find ways to get better, to adapt, adjust and find ways to make your players – whether back in 1995 or in 2015 – a way to make them click, relate to them."
George has built many relationships over the years, both impactful and memorable. He recalled one instance at the banquet that he holds dearly in his heart.
"There was a young man who came up to me - I had coached him at our QB/WR camp we did - he came to us back in 1998-99," he said. "He said real briefly, ‘Hey coach, you coached me in the camp at Southlake, 98-99, you taught me how to run the smash route, you were encouraging to me, you made a difference, I had never forgotten that. You were the first coach to believe in me.’ I recalled his face, but had no idea what impact was made. He’s in coaching now. That’s what I love about coaching."
George previously served as a head coach at Dallas Hillcrest and Haltom and was an assistant under former Carroll coach Todd Dodge at the University of North Texas. George previously coached at Carroll under Dodge from 2000-2004 and helped lead the Dragons to two undefeated 5A state titles and one state finalist finish.
In 2011, George helped guide Carroll to a 5A state championship behind another explosive offense.
"It’s been awesome to come back and work here," he said. "Hal lets me run the offense and do all those things. It’s been real special. Ultimately, I love it here and down the road I’d love to be head coach somewhere again someday. But right now I’m having a blast being the offensive coordinator here at Southlake. My kids are all in school here and my wife works here. We love being Dragons!"
George has five children: Chloe, 16; Claire, 13; Carlee, 10; Cade, 7; and Chandler, 3. He gave a special shoutout to his wife, who goes above and beyond to allow George to pursue his career.
He's excited to get through spring ball with the 2015-16 squad and see how the competition shakes out on offense to form a winning team. He's thankful for all he has at Carroll.
"If you’ve never worked here or been a Dragon, it’s a special experience," he said. "It’s hard to explain to some people who aren’t here what it’s like to work on a daily basis with these kids, it’s an absolute joy for me to come to work and work with this staff.
"There’s a lot of tradition here. The kids know that from the time they’re in elementary school until they come up and walk the stage. It’s a pleasure seeing how hard they work and what they put into it. It makes our job easier as coaches. The award is great, but all the credit goes to our staff and players. I’m just lucky to be a part of it."