WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl introduced the four coaches for the 83rd annual all-star game Wednesday afternoon.
Coaching the West: Wichita Falls High School’s Grant Freeman and Quanah’s Matt Garvin.
For the East: Decatur’s Mike Fuller and Lindsay’s head coach Jeff Smiley.
For all of these coaches, they say it’s an honor to be chosen.
“The game itself is historic," Freeman said. "Then you think about all the people who have gotten to be a part of it throughout the years, so knowing that you get to be a part of something that is so historic is really an honor.”
“I grew up in the panhandle and guys all went to it and it’s a big honor," Garvin said. "So at first you are like, better bring my A-game.”
“I think the Oil Bowl is really special," Fuller said. "I think All-Star games are special in general because it’s their last high school game.”
“It’s an honor to coach in the Oil Bowl and then secondly, it’s for a great cause," Smiley said. "So I’m just super excited to be here and to get the chance to be a part of this thing.”
The Oil Bowl, the country’s longest-standing all-star game, is one of the largest fundraisers for the Maskat Shrine and the Shriners Hospital for children.
This introduction of coaches is just the first step of many in preparation for the 2020 Oil Bowl and these coaches say their players are the reason they get to coach in this great game.
" I think what our players have accomplished the last couple of years have certainly led to this honor," Decatur’s Fuller said. “It’s not really about what a coach knows but about what the players go out there and do.”
“What I told them is they are picking Quanah," Garvin said. "They are not picking coach Garvin.”
While these coaches are no stranger to the Oil Bowl name, Grant Freeman has been attending them since taking the Old High job while Jeff Smiley was an assistant coach in this game, just five years ago.
“For me it’s getting to be around kids," Freeman said. "It’s a people business, it’s a relationship business; getting to be around different kids from other high schools, getting around different coaches, different people from around the area. Continuing to build those relationships and spend some time with them.”
“A blast," Smiley said. "Be with great kids and again it’s for a great cause.
“It was just a fun time, one of the highlights of my coaching career.”