Boyd High football coach calls it a career after memorable 35 years

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on January 25, 2012 at 12:48 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 25 at 12:48 AM

BOYD, Texas - 35 years. 274 wins. Three state championship appearances in three different decades. It's all in front of him, as retiring head football coach JG Cartwright walks along the large trophy case at Boyd High School.

"The two state championships, and the state championship runner-up," said Cartwright, as he pointed to them.

He arrived at Boyd in 1974. After three years as the junior-varsity coach, he took over the varsity program, and he's been their head coach since then.

Cartwright is leaving quite a legacy.

"Oh, he's going to downplay it," said his offensive coordinator Brandon Hopkins, who played for Cartwright in the early 90's and is candidate for his mentor's job. "He's not going to say a lot. He's just going to put it all on the players and the other coaches."

Which is exactly what Cartwright does.

"I, by myself, didn't do a whole heckuva lot," he said. "But we together - the players, the coaches, the community - we've done some things pretty special."

A lot has happened since 1977. Most recently, Boyd opened a brand-new high school in 2010, along with a field house and a new stadium.

"I'm going to miss coaching in it next year," said Cartwright, as we walk along the track that rings the football field. "But that wouldn't have been a good enough reason to stay, just to coach in the new stadium, for sure."

Cartwright said it was just time to move on, to "step back and let somebody else do it."

Throughout his career, Cartwright has always had a thing for pennies; he always had to find one the week leading up to a game. It started in 1978, his second year as the head coach. His wife and daughter sewed a penny with his birth-year into the cuff of his coaching pants. Boyd went 8-2 that year, and a superstition was born.

We learned about that superstition in 2004, when News 8 visited with coach Cartwright and his Boyd Yellow Jackets after they won the state championship.

"I still look for my lucky penny every week," he said back then. "If I find a penny, I feel pretty good."

Seven years later, he remembers how difficult it was to walk around the practice field without finding a penny.

"It got to the point where people were seeding the campus with pennies, where I was spending a lot of time just bending over and picking up pennies," he said.

After 38 years in coaching, and countless pennies, it's time to call it a career.

And what a career it's been.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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