A fact of life among old coaches is that they cherish telling stories about their athletic careers.
Hang around former PHS baseball coach Tom Meck for more than a few minutes and he'll likely tell you about his seasons at the helm of the Longhorns.
His longtime friend Ted Pettet also will unravel a few tales with just a bit of urging. Pettet, now an insurance agent and Payson's first mayor, coached baseball and basketball at PHS in the late 1950s and early '60s. He also founded the Horn track and field program.
Pettet's favorite tale, about he and his sons, Jeff and Teddy, goes like this:
In January of 1959, a son was born to the new Payson High School basketball and baseball coach and his wife. In a matter of weeks, the son was attending Longhorn games. When the last home game of the season was over, the coach walked over to home plate and held his son up and proclaimed, "some day you will lead the Longhorns to the state baseball championship."
The few remaining people had a good laugh because the Longhorns did not win a game that year.
Three years and 10 days later, a second son was born to the coach and his wife. The son was also attending games in a matter of weeks. The basketball team was in the final four of the state playoffs when it lost a close game and was eliminated.
After the game was over and the players shook hands, the coach took his newest son onto the court and held him under the basket and proclaimed, "some day you will lead the Longhorns to the state basketball championship."
In 1979, the Longhorns won the first and only state basketball championship. The coach's second son was one of the best shots on the team. He still holds the best free-throw percentage record for Payson High School.
In the championship game, he made two crucial free throws with just seconds remaining to seal the win. The coach's prophecy had come true.
The eldest son played football, basketball and baseball at Payson High but never won a state championship.
After graduation from college, he returned to Payson to begin a teaching and coaching career.
In the spring of 1999, 40 years after the coach had lifted him above home plate, the Longhorn team he coached won the state baseball championship. It was the biggest upset in the history of the state championship. The players set seven playoff records which still stand.
The coach's prophecy had come true.
The inaugural Jack Morris Memorial Payson High School Football Booster Club Golf Tournament is June 19 at Payson Golf Club.
Proceeds from the benefit will be donated to the booster club and to an annual college scholarship fund.
The booster club uses the money to purchase team items that are not available in the strapped-tight athletic budget.
The scholarship will award a stipend each year to a graduating senior who is continuing his/her education. The scholarship awards will begin with the class of 2005.
The benefit tournament is sponsored by booster club member Gary Cordell of Touchdown Sales and the golf committee.
Morris, the Longhorns' offensive/defensive line coach and a member of the 1986 PHS team that reached the state championship, died Feb. 23 of complications from a stroke he suffered days earlier. Morris was 34 years old.