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Coaching football runs in family for Josephs – Houston Chronicle

The Josephs usually left football at the door.

Scott, Michael and Gary played for father Eddie at Wharton High School. It had to be a test of wills for teenage football players to avoid breaking their mother Mary’s house rule by injecting the game into any conversation at home.

Scott did so once when he was a sophomore. Understandably anxious about an upcoming start, he felt the need to vent and ask a question in order to make sure he was prepared.

“Nowadays, we’re older,” he said. “Most of the time we get around each other, it’s going to eventually lead to football.”

For as much as the sport is part of the Josephs’ lives, Week 1 brings a different dynamic and a new talking point.

Gary’s Katy team opens the 2019 season Thursday in a nationally televised showdown with North Shore. Scott returns to the high school head coaching ranks with Aldine Davis against College Park on Friday. Their nephew (Michael’s son and Eddie’s grandson), Blake, makes his head coaching debut with Magnolia West against Brenham on Friday.

Eddie, who died in March at 86, might have tried to find any way he could to attend each of those season openers. He’d show up to Navarro College games donning a Katy hat when Scott was coaching in junior college. He was a frequent presence for Gary’s games.

Eddie was a Marine. He played at Camp Pendleton. The structure, routine and dedication paired well with coaching. He spent 14 years as Wharton’s coach and athletic director, starting in 1968. Wharton’s stadium now bears his name. He also coached in the private school division, winning four consecutive Catholic state championships at Bishop Guinness in Oklahoma City.

A Dallas Jesuit graduate, Eddie wore his faith on his sleeve. He gave back to the coaching profession through the Texas High School Coaches Association, which inducted him into its Hall of Honor in 1983. He’s also a Texas High School Football Hall of Fame inductee as part of the class of 1994.

His career reads like the original blueprint for coaching. It rubbed off on his sons and made something like this week possible for the family.

Scott, who was around his father’s Wharton team before he was old enough to play, remembers getting in trouble one school day. As punishment, he couldn’t travel with the varsity team to Brazosport.

His reaction might have been an indication he was destined for a lifetime role in football.

“I think I was in third grade, and I thought the world was going to end because I didn’t get to ride the bus with the team because I got in trouble in school,” Scott said.

Gary remembers the values his dad exuded — lessons based on faith and overcoming obstacles and infectious enough to galvanize whole families and football teams.

“That’s the reason I got into coaching,” Gary said. “When my son was coaching, it was the same thing. He sat there and said, ‘I watched you go to work every day and enjoy going to work. It wasn’t like you had to go to work. It’s like you get to go to work.’”

Blake’s season might merit the most interest of the three, simply because it’s his first head coaching job, and it’s an attractive one at that. Magnolia West is seeking a 10th consecutive playoff appearance.

Blake moved to Magnolia West from Temple High School to fill an offensive coordinator’s position in 2016. He brought his cousin and Gary’s son, Jeff, who is currently out of coaching, to fill the defensive coordinator’s spot with him under JD Berna.

Berna was promoted to Magnolia ISD athletic director this offseason, opening the door for Blake to become a head coach.

Blake also wonders what else one can do when raised by the coaching profession.

“I’ve been around high school football and football in general my whole life, and I love the game of football,” said Blake, a Bryan graduate who played at the University of Houston during the Art Briles, Kevin Sumlin and Case Keenum eras. “It brings out the best in people, holds people to a high standard by working hard and working hard in the classroom.”

Football families partake in a never-ending balancing act. Some might handle it like the Josephs did and keep the game separate from the dinner table. For others, that sense of normalcy off the field is difficult to attain.

Regardless, there are all sorts of funny tales from the field in these families.

Gary once hinted to Blake that they schedule each other, which Blake laughingly declined. Not many schools are eager to schedule Katy in general, let alone 5A schools scheduling much larger 6A outfits.

Scott, with a head coaching stop previously at Westbury and assistant jobs at Seven Lakes and Cypress Ranch, has coached against Gary numerous times. They speak almost weekly during the season, usually on Wednesday nights. The rooting interest they have in each other always has been present and expands this year to include Blake.

Scott, Blake and Gary are balancing the uniqueness and timing of this week with the routine that football season requires.

The emotions might run a little wild for the family cheering them on. Scott said it’s no use telling his mother it’s physically impossible to be at every game. She’ll still try.

Gary said it will be difficult getting used to not seeing his father at games this year, a sight he never tired of.

“That was always something to sit there and get to see him and get to see the joy in his face for the success we had,” Gary said. “Both of my parents have always been very supportive of us and what we do.”



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