Newsmakers: Prud’homme named head coach as Wesleyan revives football

Seven-time TAPPS state football champion coach Joe Prud’homme is the new head coach of Texas Wesleyan University’s reinstated football program.

Football is returning to Texas Wesleyan after a 75-year time out. The private, coeducational university in southeast Fort Worth, celebrating its 125th anniversary, has re-established its football program, and competition is expected to begin in the 2017-2018 season. The university will compete in the Central States Football League, which is governed by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Prud’homme is recruiting a class of 75 red-shirt athletes that will start training and conditioning this fall, with scrimmages and practices beginning in spring 2017.

He was head football coach at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth for 24 years. During his tenure, the team won seven state championships between 2004 and 2013 in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 5A division. He was named Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s Private School Coach of the Year in 2008.

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“Joe is a truly phenomenal coach who has shown he knows how to build and sustain championship-caliber programs,” said Athletics Director Steve Trachier. “He’s done that with student athletes that have talent on the field and who excel in the classroom.”

Texas Wesleyan’s football program began in 1934-1935 (it had previously competed from 1902-1914 as Polytechnic College) and played against rivals such as Austin College and John Tarleton Agricultural College (now Tarleton State University). During the 1940-1941 season, the team won a conference co-championship. The team suspended play during World War II as many of the students left school to join the U.S. armed forces.

Prud’homme stressed his commitment to recruiting and educating top-tier student athletes, underscoring the importance of a top-tier education and a great university experience.

“We’re going to build a team that wins the right way,” he said. “When you are part of something special, it sticks with you forever.”

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Boards & Organizations

Lillie Biggins, president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, has been named to the advisory board for Frost’s Tarrant County region. Biggins was vice president of operations at Texas Health Fort Worth, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington and assistant clinical professor in hospital administration at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. She was appointed to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport board in 2005 and has been chairman since 2008. She also chairs the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council board of trustees.

Patricia A. Watson has been elected to the board of Texas Capital Bancshares Inc., the parent of Texas Capital Bank. Watson is the senior executive vice president and chief information officer of TSYS. Prior to joining TSYS in September 2015, she was global CIO for The Brinks Co. and worked with Bank of America for more than 14 years in technology positions. She also spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as executive staff officer, flight commander and director of operations. Watson was named “One of the Most Influential Women in Payments in 2016” by PaymentsSource.


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Krish Prabhu, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, has been named to the University of Texas at Arlington’s Engineering Hall of Achievement and appointed a research professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Since joining AT&T in 2011, Prabhu has overseen the company’s global technology direction, which includes network innovation, product development and research, the intellectual property organization and the global supply chain organization.

Before joining AT&T, Prabhu was CEO of Tellabs, an Illinois optical network technologies company. He began his career in 1980 on the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, where he researched video coding and image processing. He joined Rockwell International in 1984 and led a team of engineers developing fiber optic telecom products. He served as chief operating officer of Alcatel in Paris from 1991 to 2001. Later, at Alcatel, he led a team that was the first to launch digital subscriber line, or DSL, products for broadband Internet access. Prabhu also was a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, where he helped develop information technology and communications startups. He has advised industry-leading telecommunications and semiconductor companies and also has served on several public and private company boards. Prabhu also was an adjunct electrical engineering professor at UT Arlington the mid-1980s.

Honors & Awards

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) received the Law Sone Medal from Texas Wesleyan University, where she graduated in 1965. The award is named for former Texas Wesleyan President Law Sone, the longest tenured president in the university’s history, who served from 1935-1969.

Brian Brasher, a levee safety program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, received the Modern-Day Technology Leader Award at the 30th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Global Competitiveness Conference in Philadelphia. Brasher was recognized in the Professional Achievement category for his efforts in managing the inspection and evaluation of federal and non-federal levee systems throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Asthma 411, a collaborative pilot program between the Fort Worth Independent School District and University of North Texas Health Science Center, received the 2016 Award for Outstanding Innovation for Continuing Professional Development from the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions. Established through the efforts of Fort Worth ISD trustee Tobi Jackson, the program has reduced asthma-related student absenteeism by 51 percent and emergency trips to the doctor by 95 percent.


Omni Hotels & Resorts named Peter Strebel as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales, Lesli Reynolds as senior vice president of revenue and Mark Wykes as vice president of hotel sales and marketing. Strebel previously was the senior vice president of operations and vice president of sales and marketing for Omni. He has worked at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Omni Nashville Hotel, Omni Parker House in Boston, Omni Berkshire Place in New York City, Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, and the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Strebel also served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Wyndham Hotel Group and was promoted to president of the company before returning to Omni in 2009.

Reynolds most recently was senior vice president of operations and has worked at the Omni Dallas Hotel, Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Omni San Diego Hotel, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia and Omni Rancho Las Palmas & Spa in Palm Springs, California. She worked her way up from front office manager to general manager in 1996 at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark. She served in the same capacity at the Omni Austin Hotel downtown and Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania. She returned to Texas in 2008 and was promoted to vice president, global distribution and revenue strategy.

Wykes worked for Omni as regional director of sales and marketing and director of global sales. He has worked at properties including Omni Nashville Hotel, Omni Dallas Hotel and Omni Fort Worth Hotel. Before joining Omni, he was the director of sales for the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Prior to joining Hilton, Wykes was director of sales and marketing for W Hotels in New Orleans and had key positions with Sheraton in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Torrey Pines and Palm Springs, California.


Higginbotham hired Bernie Henyon as associate of personal property/casualty insurance. For the past four years, Henyon has been an associate pastor at HighRidge Church in Fort Worth. Prior to that, he owned an Allstate Insurance Co.-affiliated firm from 1988-2011 that sold property/casualty and life products. He was honored with a National Quality Award, Allstate Honor Ring and Allstate National Champion recognition for his sales and service.

Nonprofit Organizations

Katie Lane was promoted to director of development at The WARM Place. Lane joined The WARM Place in 2014 as development associate. She previously worked for the United Way of Larimer County in north central Colorado.

Linda Bass is a new volunteer coordinator/trainer at Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas. Bass, previously a co-mediator at DRS for the past 10 years, will support the 250 current volunteers and help identify future volunteers, provide mediation training for volunteers, and work with case specialists on implementing a system of mediation assignments. Bass has more than 30 years of professional claims experience with State Farm Insurance.

Real Estate

Vincent Knipp relocated to Marcus & Millichap’s Dallas office from the Fort Worth location, where he was an agent for nearly eight years. He was recognized as Fort Worth’s Top Closer in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Since 2010, he has been recognized every year as one of the firm’s Top 20 Agents in Texas. By 2014, he earned a position in Marcus & Millichap’s group of Top 30 Retail Agents companywide. Knipp specializes in single-tenant and net leased investment sales throughout the United States as well as multi-tenant shopping centers throughout Texas. Knipp began his career at Marcus & Millichap in 2008, He is vice president investments, a senior director of Marcus & Millichap’s Net Leased Properties Group, and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. He has earned two Marcus & Millichap’s Gold Plaque Sales Recognition awards and two Platinum National Achievement awards.

Dart Appraisal added Gary Hale, who will cover the north Texas area including Dallas-Fort Worth. Hale previously was an account executive for Elevate in the Dallas Fort Worth area and vice president of sales for Green Investment Management in Fort Worth.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at