By George Slaughter
The award, according to the hall, “acknowledges outstanding contributions to the game by a Texas high school coach. Award winners, through their life and actions, serve as positive role models for athletes and are a credit to the coaching profession.”
Debbie Decker, Katy Independent School District athletic director, said Joseph was deserving of the honor and that he was an outstanding role model. She said Joseph is always looking for opportunities to mentor coaches, even though those coaches might be competing against him in the future.
“During the spring and summer months, he’ll have three or four coaches come visit, and he’ll let them follow him around, seeing how he does things,” Decker said. She said in some cases the visiting coaches come from outside Texas.
“We’re extremely proud of him,” Decker said.
Serving as a role model might be seen as an “all-in-the-family” deal with Joseph. The coach’s father, Eddie, served as executive vice president of the Texas High School Coaches Association for 11 years and was also a long-time high school football coach. Eddie Joseph was enshrined in the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Gary Joseph became the Tigers coach in 2004. On his watch, the Tigers have posted double-digit winning records every season and claimed five state championship titles. The most recent of those titles came in January, when Katy defeated Cedar Hill at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Gary Joseph was enshrined in the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Overall, the Tigers have won nine titles, which is second in the history of the University Interscholastic League. Only Aledo, which won its 10th title last season, has more.
The Texas High School Football Coaches Association selects the award winner. The award is named in honor of Landry, who coached the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-88. Landry’s teams enjoyed 20 consecutive winning seasons and played in five Super Bowls, winning two. Landry was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Mike Anderson, director of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, met Coach Landry many years ago, and said both Landry and Joseph are alike in that they are men of few words, who are all business, and lead by example.
The award comes at a noteworthy time for Katy athletics. In separate ceremonies Monday, Katy football players and Seven Lakes volleyball players received their state championship rings. Seven Lakes defeated Klein last December to win its title.
The Spartans’ title is the first ever in volleyball for a Katy Independent School District school.