AUSTIN, Texas — Westlake High School head football coach and athletic director Todd Dodge is hanging up his whistle after the 2021-22 football season. Dodge made the announcement Thursday morning.
Dodge has been a high school coach for more than 35 years. He has served as a head football coach for more than two decades.
Dodge is a three-time National High School Coach of the Year, five-time State High School Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame in 2006.
He has won six state championships, including back-to-back titles at Westlake.
"I've got a bit of a heavy heart," said Dodge. "I walked around this morning after telling the players and I told them, 'Guys, once I tell you, there's no going back.' I can promise you as I go through this year I'm going to take my time with it, and not wish any of it away. Just going to absolutely enjoy these coaches, these kids, these Westlake Chaparrals because I love this place so much."
Before taking over at Westlake, Dodge was the head man at Southlake Carroll High School. From 2002 to 2006, he went 79-1 with five consecutive 5A State Championship appearances – winning the State Championship four times during that run.
When Dodge arrived at Westlake in 2014, he cited family as a driving factor.
His wife, Elizabeth, grew up in Eanes ISD and attended Westlake. His father-in-law, Ebbie Neptune, was a legendary athletic director and the head football coach.
“We have different bucket list-type things that we hope would happen before our time is over in a particular profession, and being the head coach and athletic director at Westlake was definitely one for me,” Dodge said.
During the 2019 season at Westlake, Dodge guided the Chaps to their first state title since 1996. He then followed that up with another title in January. It was the first time the team had won two straight championships in school history.
This past season's win had an extra personal element for Dodge: the Chaps faced off against his former school, Southlake Carroll, where the head coach is his son, Riley.
Family was again on his mind during Thursday's announcement.
“I’m going to get a little bit more of a chance to be a Paw-Paw with my three grandchildren," he said. "Riley has like five Thursday night games and I'm going to be able to bring my grandson's to Westlake games on Friday nights. My mother is 83 years old and there comes a season of life where it comes time to go to that next journey.”
Dodge's love for football goes all the way back to when he was in high school in Port Arthur, Texas. In 1980, he became the first high school quarterback in history to pass for over 3,000 yards. He was a two-time AP All-State and Player of the Year and as a senior was selected to the Parade All-American Team. In 2001, he was inducted into his high school's hall of fame.
Dodge went on to play quarterback for the University of Texas at Austin, where he started 23 games and notched a 19-4 record from 1983 to 1985. He began coaching immediately after graduation.
In 2004, he was named head coach for the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) North All-Stars. In 2006, he was the offensive coordinator for the Army All-American game, and in 2007, he served as the head coach for the Army All-American game.
The 2021 season will be his farewell tour, with Dodge's sights squarely on a three-peat.
"I turned 58 years old yesterday and I am so excited about this season and so motivated to go into this year," Dodge said.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: