JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BURNET — When the Burnet High School fieldhouse was constructed, former athletic director Bob Shipley added 8-inch-by-10-inch portraits of players who signed to play college football.
At the time, it mostly consisted of Bulldogs who played on the 2002 and 2003 Class 3A state runner-up teams.
But today, the number of portraits equals 29 and includes Luke Pell of Army, Eddy Parker of Georgia Tech, Mason Templeton of the University of Arkansas, Patrick Miller of Tarleton State University, Cody Warner and Ty Kuhn of Abilene Christian University, Stephen McGee of Texas A&M University and Jordan Shipley of the University of Texas.
Current athletic director Kurt Jones added another item to the wall thanks in large part to athletic department assistant Sandra Garrett.
He asked her to compile lists of all-district players from 1949 to today. By the time she finished, the number of lists totaled 33. Garrett said it took her a couple of weeks to gather the data.
“Anytime you get people named to all-district, you want to honor them as much as you can,” Jones said. “History is valuable for kids.”
And both said it’s had that effect, particularly on the freshmen, who recognize names of players they came to the games to support when they were in middle school.
“That’s why you put it up,” Jones said. “You see them coming more. They talk about the former players and tell stories. They remember the big games and some of the things (the alumni) have done.”
Garrett said the players have a reminder of how far the program has come and how important it is that those who still play for the Bulldogs extend that tradition.
As she was talking, freshmen Blake Estes and Kaleb Alexander were slowly walking through the hall, looking at the photos and recognizing the names.
“It kind of inspires you to one day be on this wall,” Alexander said.
New to the fieldhouse this year are door wraps that remind players of the legacy of the program. The phrases are meant to encourage them as they enter and exit the locker room or fieldhouse on their way to the field.
“We had a couple of companies look at us and gave us mockups,” Jones said. “We were impressed. Kids get excited about that kind of stuff.”