Granddads and Hurrahs

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

   Most grandfathers–with little or no provocation–are happy to expound with inflated views of their grandchildren.

One boast of a long-ago granddad caused guffaws as it blew believability to shreds. Proud of quadruplet grandsons–vaunted players on a championship football team–he went overboard with praise.

“These boys are tough,” he’d begin. His friends could complete the unchanging litany. “Each one is so tough he can whip the other three.”

This said, to be Jerry Jones the Grandfather these days would call for considerable tightrope-walking. And, to be his grandson, John Stephen Jones, wouldn’t be the easiest challenge, either.

Think of it from the standpoint of this 17-year-old. Within a period of 50 days, this Highland Park High School junior has been quarterback of a state championship football team, scored both touchdowns en route to a 17-6 win over Temple and named player of the game on offense. Whew! What can he do for an encore as a senior?

And consider these occurrences, all within a matter of weeks: First of all, he and his fellow Scots won the state football crown at AT&T Stadium, the world-renowned facility that fulfilled the dream of his grandfather. Then came Jerry’s induction into the National Football League’s Hall of Fame. Finally, John Stephen’s coach, Randy Allen, received the NFL’s Don Shula Award, presented annually to the nation’s top high school coach.

I’ve never met the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, his son Stephen or his grandson. However, I’ll sign up with the millions of fans who recognize the Cowboys’ owner for his vision, business acumen and flair for keeping the pro game in the limelight. (That the Dallas NFL franchise is worth approximately 30 times what Jones paid for it says much.)

I have had the pleasure, however, of knowing Coach Allen since 1986–the same year he succeeded legendary Coach Gordon Wood at Brownwood High School and I became president of Howard Payne University a few blocks away.

What he does, says and believes reveal clearly who he is. I have never known a finer coach or a stronger Christian gentleman who redefines humility daily. He influences young men in far more important ways than winning football games.

As notable as his winning the Shula Award from the NFL this year was his winning the 2014 Grant Teaff Award from the National High School Coaches’ Association. It acknowledges Christian character. Only two Texas coaches have ever won the Teaff Award. The other was the late Gordon Wood in 2000.

To achieve true greatness in life, the young Jones–already known for leadership skills immersed in humility–must glean the best lessons both from his family and from his coaches.

So doing, he can go far, NOT as the ultimate player, or even the ultimate citizen.

We’ve heard the term “greatest” used with abandon with all the folderol associated with Super Bowl LI. At Super Bowl VI when Duane Thomas played in the Cowboys’ 24-3 victory in New Orleans–he heard the word “ultimate” too many times. He doubted Super Bowl VI being the ultimate game. “If it is the ‘ultimate game,’ why are they going to play it again next year?.”

I’ll not describe anyone or anything as “ultimate.” What do I know?

Three men in hats come close, however. All are associated with “Big D.” Coach Allen wears a snappy Fedora, as did the legendary Tom Landry.

The other was late surgeon, Dr. Marvin Knight–every inch the tall Texan pacing the sidelines in his trademark Stetson. One of West Texas’ first orthopedic surgeons, he was still performing surgeries on players in his late 70s. He spent “retirement years” on his sprawling spread near Muenster. Then, players came to him for surgeries at Muenster General Hospital. That’s a whole ‘nuther story, worthy of detailing later. He, like late Dallas sportswriter Blackie Sherrod who wrote often about him, was an alumnus of Howard Payne University.


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872 Website: