LEWISVILLE, Texas — When the Texas high school football season kicks off on Friday night, school communities across the state will reignite the traditions and pride they have carried for decades.
But something will be missing.
“It is going to be strange,” said Greg Tepper, the managing editor for Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. “This first Friday night is going to be strange because that was his favorite time.”
If football is religion in Texas, then Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is the bible. A few more than a dozen full-time employees in a Lewisville office produce the annual 400-page football authority that has previewed every Texas team at every level for the past 62 years.
This season will be the first since the magazine’s namesake, Dave Campbell, passed away in December at age 96.
In 1960, Campbell was motivated to start a magazine offering a complete and total look at football in the state of Texas. As a fan of the Southwest Conference, he felt the region was oft ignored by much of sports media at the time.
That motivation has produced an institution that has arrived on shelves in Texas each and every summer. When football fans see it on the magazine rack while waiting at the grocery checkout counter, it is the signal that a new season is near.
“It is a rite of summer for so many football fans across Texas,” Tepper said. “We try to live up to what Dave Campbell started on his kitchen table in 1960.”
While many traditions have stayed the same, the magazine has adapted with the sport since that inaugural edition. The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans did not yet exist in 1960, there were significantly fewer colleges to cover and less than 600 high schools had “schoolboy” football teams for the magazine to preview.
Today, Tepper and DCTF preview more than 1,500 high schools from big to small, east to west, and everything in-between.
“You can’t look at high school football as 1,500 teams. You have to look at them as 1,500 different stories.”
A wall at their Lewisville office is taken up by a giant bookshelf containing the magazine for each year since the very beginning.
Although, that 1960 original edition is not in ample supply. Even at the office where the magazine is produced, they only have a couple copies that sit in well-protected spots.
“If you find a copy of the 1960 edition for under $500, you should buy it right now.”
As the sport has grown and times have changed, DCTF has expanded from much more than the print edition magazine. Their office has a studio for podcasts and other productions that bring Campbell’s brainchild into the digital age.
Tepper said Campbell’s name is so intertwined with Texas football and they aim to keep it that way.
“This is his legacy and it is our job to carry the banner for Dave.”
Note: The video above was uploaded in 2019.