Texas Wesleyan names new football coach

Coach Joe Prud'homme

Joe Prud’homme named head coach of Texas Wesleyan football

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

The announcement was made during a news conference at the university on Feb.25

Prud’homme will begin his coaching duties on Feb. 29.

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“We start today. Recruiting starts today,” Prud’homme said. “It’s going to be an amazing opportunity for kids in Fort Worth, the outlying regions and the state of Texas. I’m ready for the blue and gold. I’m ready to be a Ram.”

Football is returning to Texas Wesleyan after a 75-year time out. The private, coeducational university in southeast Fort Worth, currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, said Feb. 10 it will re-establish its football program with competition expected to begin in the 2017-2018 season.

The Texas Wesleyan Rams will compete in the Central States Football League, which is governed by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Texas members of the league include Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas College in Tyler and Wayland Baptist University in Plainview. Other members are Arizona Christian University in Phoenix, Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla., Langston University in Langston, Okla., and Lyon College in Batesville, Ark.

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

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The new coach said he will be recruiting true student athletes who put education first and sports second.

“I’m looking for athletes that are talented, committed to being students and have been overlooked by the Division I recruiters,” he said. “If they’re great students and athletes they’re welcomed here.”

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

“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.”

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President Frederick G. Slabach said the reintroduction of the football program is the next step in the university’s 2020 Vision Strategic Plan.

“We’ve had interest in the head coach position from across the country,” Slabach said. “What we’ve been looking for is a coach who believes in our athletics tradition of putting the student in student athlete first and also a coach with a proven record of developing a winning tradition not only winning games but creating a championship program at Texas Wesleyan that all of Fort Worth can be proud of.”

Texas Wesleyan’s football program began in 1934-1935 (it had previously competed from 1902-1914 as Polytechnic College), and competed 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.

Trachier said the university is finalizing an agreement with a local high school for practice and for games.

Texas Wesleyan is also looking into the possibility of building a stadium on campus through a collaborative partnership in the near future, Slabach announced earlier.

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,” Prud’homme said. “When you are part of something special, it sticks with you forever.”