100 Wins and Counting

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100 Wins and Counting

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When Bill Littleton first took on the role of head football coach/athletic coordinator here in 2003, the football team had not made it to the playoffs in eight years.

“I want all programs to succeed,” Littleton said to a reporter from the Monitor in the same year, before he had moved into his current office. “From what I’ve found out [about Memorial] is that they’ve been successful in everything but football. I want to get football to be as successful as everything else.”

Since then, in Littleton’s past 12 seasons coaching here, the team has qualified for the playoffs in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and every year after that.

The win against San Benito on Friday, September 12 marked his hundredth since he arrived in 2003.

“It all came down to great players and great coaches. If it hadn’t been for great players and great coaches, we never would have won that many,” Littleton said.

He said it used to be that other schools could mark a “W” on their home schedules before they even played Memorial.

“One of my highlights has been watching this program turn into what it is today- a football powerhouse here in the Valley,” Littleton said.

The first year he got here, Littleton had 55 kids in the football program. There are over 230 kids in the program now.

“That’s been one of my biggest highlights as a football coach… It makes you smile just to see where the football program’s gone,” he said, tears clouding his eyes. “And not just the football program, the whole athletic program.”

As of now, the varsity team is the only team with a loss on their record.

“It’s a lot of fun to go out on Thursday and watch our team win, then go out on Friday and watch our team win it again,” he said. “Winning is always fun.”

He attributes part of the success of the team to his philosophy for how the team should play.

“Our primary philosophy is that we’re going to run the football and we’re going to play good defense behind it. Those two things, I think, win championships,” he said.

For his team, Littleton says he looks for players that have ability, have heart, and are coachable.

“I love our players,” he said. “They’re on a mission. You can see that mission in their eyes. You know they have a passion for the game just by the way they are playing. It’s fun to watch them.”

Littleton says his competitive nature, love of sports, and high school coach were all reasons he decided to become a coach.

“Growing up, I loved sports. I went from one sport to another– I played everything,” he said. “My high school coach was a big influence because what he did for the kids and what he did for the community.”

Since he first began coaching in 1976, Littleton says he has learned a lot about patience.

“People will probably tell you I’ve mellowed out from what I used to be when I was a young coach,” he said. “You have got to change with the times. Kids are different in 2014 than in 1976; the world is different. I tell my coaches all the time, ‘When you think you know everything, it’s time to get out.’ I learn things every day.”

Sports were such a big part of Littleton’s family life that his son, Will, ended up as the head coach of the track and field program at Los Fresnos.

“My son and I are really close, he knows what’s going on,” he said. “We talk every day. He’s always trying to give me advice and keep me updated because he thinks I’m a little ‘old fashioned’, but he asks for coaching advice a lot, also.”

Because Littleton is also a track coach come track season, he has the pleasure of coaching against his son at some of the invitational meets.

“It’s always fun [to see him at track meets]. He’s just such a competitor. As a kid he was such a competitor, and he’s still a competitor as a coach,” he said. “The passion he has for what he does is always fun to watch.”

Littleton likes to think of himself as a player’s coach. He wants his athletes to know they can always go into his office and talk to him about whatever they need to– football or otherwise.

Not much has changed in Littleton’s mindset towards the game since he first started here 11 years ago.

“I told the kids we’re going to get better every day,” he told a reporter from the Victoria Advocate in 2003. “Our goal is to be a better football team tomorrow than we were today. If we do that, we’ll be a pretty good football team, and we’ll get it turned around better than people think we will.”

Those words, spoken before any of the current varsity players had even graduated from the third grade, have stood the test of time and are still used by Littleton today in a slightly modified form.

“I think this team will continue to grow and get better every day. We always talk about ‘day by day, better and better’,” he said. “If they’ll continue to day by day get better and better, this team’s got a chance to be the best team in the history of Memorial High School.”

 

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