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Southlake Style

Gridiron Gratitude

Sep 07, 2016 10:57AM ● By Ashley Pape

When Hal Wasson became head football coach for Southlake Carroll in 2007, he took over a powerhouse program. The Dragons have won eight state championships—more than any other football team in Texas. Now in his 10th year as head coach, Wasson has high hopes for his Dragons and the season ahead. 

Q: This is your 10th season as head football coach. What has the journey been like? 

A: Incredible. I’ve taken an attitude of gratitude. To me, Carroll is a unique place—in a good way. In other places, there are always areas to move the bar. When I came here in 2007, [I wondered] how do we raise the bar here? At that time, there were seven state championships and an incredible winning streak. I wanted to be in a place where the expectations are so high and to continue that elite status. I appreciate this community, our administrative team and our educators, and I appreciate and value our players because I know how hard they work. 

Q: What do you find most rewarding in your role as head coach? 

A: The relationships, without a doubt. I tell my coaches to enjoy the day. Relish the game. When you win, enjoy it for a bit. We have a 24-hour rule. We savor the win and then we move on. 

Q: What has been one of your proudest moments? 

A: All the wins here are monumental to me. The state championship in 2011 was an incredible moment for me personally. It was incredible but the tough news is you always want to get it again. It’s a great motivator. 

Q: Favorite team tradition?

A: Game day is my favorite day, but during the week, it’s Thursday. As a team, we, in unison, repeat our expectations. Our kids quote what we have to do to win or be at our best. I also like the black game pants and blond hair. It’s a unique tradition because all the kids buy into it. I savor anything that’s a big deal to the kids and community. 

Q: How do you deal with the stress of Texas high school football? 

A: It’s all about the present and controlling what you can control. I can’t control how good the other team is or how big that other guy is. I have control over my attitude. I’m really hard on myself. I evaluate myself to make myself better, our coaches better, our team better. 

Q: How has high school football changed in the last 10 years? 

A: The players are bigger, stronger, faster. Everybody wants to be entertained now. There’s more pageantry. To me, football is the purest form of entertainment. I want kids to get value from football—the value of a work ethic, teamwork, treating people fairly. 

Q: What sets Dragon players apart? 

A: They do common things with uncommon discipline and energy. That’s the difference maker. Our kids work extremely hard. They think: We’re Dragons; we’re supposed to work hard. I already know who’s going to win the game—the team that plays the best. The great separator is: Are you at your best when it matters the most? 

Q: If you could mold the perfect Dragon football player, what would he look like? 

A: I’d start by looking at what’s in his heart. It would be a guy with confidence. Confidence comes from production; production comes from a strong work ethic. I’d mold a guy who was unselfish because we live in such a selfish world. I’d want a guy who’s honest with himself and who is trusted—not just when things are good, but when things aren’t going his way. I’d want someone who wants to get the most out of what he was blessed with. 

Q: Anything you’d like to say to Dragon fans? 

A: I hope they understand how much we appreciate their support. We don’t take it for granted. I’d love for our fans to be at games early to really experience everything. I’d encourage them to wear our colors. It’s so fun to look up and see everyone in green. And just really get into the game. That energy feeds us. Feed the beast!