Coach Hooks enters Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame

Published 10:44 am Saturday, May 1, 2021

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Great news happened Saturday as legendary long-time West Orange-Stark Mustang football coach and athletic director Dan Hooks was enshrined to the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame in Waco.

Coach Hooks was suppose to enter the Hall of Fame in May of 2020 but they did not have the ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Coach Hooks guided the Mustang program from 1981-2010 as the head coach, compiling an amazing 277-71-2 mark.

He led the Mustang program to three straight Class 4A State Championship Games between 1986-1988 and claimed two back-to-back state crowns in 1986 and 1987. In 1986 the Mustangs toppled McKinney 21-9 in the state title game and downed Rockwall 17-7 in the 1987 title tilt.

Everyone in the area knew WO-S was on the brink of something special back in 1985 when they took a stout Houston Yates squad down to the wire in the Mustangs’ last year in 5A.

WO-S claimed its first of back-to-back 4A state titles when they toppled McKinney in the State Championship battle in 1986. The game fans may remember the most that year was when the Mustangs toppled Jasper 21-15 in the third round. Jasper had defeated WO-S earlier in the season by a score of 21-8.

Hooks helped lead the Mustangs to 17 district championships and 19 playoff trips.

The Mustangs were also state runnerups in 2000 and made the state semifinals in 2005. The Mustangs went 37-19 in the postseason during his amazing run.

The Mustangs never really carried a huge roster in any of the years under Hooks. The roster has usually hovered around the 30-player mark. As many former WO-S players would put it, “It was Survival of the Fittest.”

Arguably, there is was probably not a program in Southeast Texas that worked harder than the Mustangs in the weight room in the offseason and practices during the season.

In March of 2006 Coach Hooks was inducted into the Southeast Texas Coaches Association Hall of Honor and he is also in the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Hall of Game.

In 2006, the Mustang Football Stadium was officially named Dan R. Hooks Stadium.

In 2009, Coach Hooks was named one of the Top 50 Most Memorable Coaches in the state of Texas in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s 50th Anniversary issue.

Hooks, who was an assistant to first-ever  WO-S head coach Steve McCarthy in 1977 before taking the head-coaching duties in 1981, has watched young men head to the college level and excel.

He also witnessed former Mustangs reach the NFL level, including three-time Super Bowl winner Kevin Smith with the Cowboys along with Chris Cole, who played for the Denver Broncos and Earl Thomas, who notched a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks.