Former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell couldn't contain his excitement. In fact, he seemed to be having just as much fun as the campers.
"I liked the Elvis [dance], then that one kid did a dance no one else could do," said Harrell, grinning as he talked about teaching campers end zone dances at the end of a drill. "We tried practicing [the dance] as coaches, we couldn't do it; he called it the Sponge Bob...it was impressive."
As for teaching and instructing kids and high schoolers about the game of football, Harrell quickly changed from joking to the same poised student of the game Texas high school football fans remember winning the 4A state title at Ennis High School as a sophomore.
"The goal is to make these guys better," said the Green Bay Packers second string quarterback. "We try to have fun, but the main goal is to make these guys better and put them through drills I've done my whole life and career that have made me better."
His brother, a former college quarterback at Tulsa and Abilene Christian, shares the same passion for teaching the game and even helped with most of the administrative work to set up the camp.
"Back in the summer we were talking about a camp, then the closer it got to summer, the more serious we got about it," said Graham's brother Clark. "It's just a lot of fun getting together with Zach (Stewart), Graham, and my dad - and actually getting to work football again."
As big of a name as 'Graham Harrell' is in Lubbock, even he might be overshadowed by his dad's attendance. Sam Harrell, former Ennis coach, came from Brownwood's Gordon Wood coaching influence. This past offseason, he retired from coaching after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis(a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal chord).
Coach Harrell remembers a time a productive day meant getting from his bed to a chair across the room.
"It's truly a miracle that I'm doing it again," said the elder Harrell about coaching. "I still have to ride around in my golf cart, I still can't stand on my feet too long...but I'm telling you six months to a year ago I couldn't have walked out here. It would've been little bitty steps."
Onlookers at Frenship High School, the site of this year's camp, might not notice the difference immediately. Coach Harrell was walking around the football field, helping high schoolers with their release point and footwork. The longtime coach credits stem cells for the breakthrough in his battle against MS.
"I could get around better, I felt better, I looked better," said coach Harrell after his third trip to Panama for stem cell treatment. "So, I started thinking in the back of my mind 'maybe I could coach again.'"
That's all the three-time state championship coach would need: a glimmer of past Sam Harrell. And that's all athletic directors around the state needed to hear before approaching Harrell with coaching offers.
That, plus friend and fellow coach Bob Shipley(head football coach at Brownwood) encouraged Harrell to come back part-time to coach the quarterbacks for the Lions. The result was a happy Shipley, and thankfully, a happy and healthier coach Harrell.
"All of a sudden, I found myself coaching the quarterbacks at Brownwood," said the beaming coach, taking a moment to pause before he continued. "I truly thought I'd never coach again...it's amazing that I can call myself a coach again and that's just fun."
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