STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — When the Marble Falls High School boys basketball team takes the court Feb. 9 against Dripping Springs, the Mustangs will be sporting a dash for red on their usual purple and white uniforms.
They’ll be wearing red socks in honor of the late Rev. Max Copeland as the community once again honors his legacy and love for the Marble Falls community and Mustang sports. Marble Falls Independent School District officials will also use the night to raise money for the Max Copeland Scholarship.
MFISD, its athletics department, and the Marble Falls Education Foundation will pass red buckets through the stands during the game’s halftime to collect donations for the scholarship. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m at the Max Copeland/Marble Falls High School gymnasium, 2101 Mustang Drive.
“The idea of the scholarship is that it would be something both boys and girls could apply for year to year and get something fairly substantial,” said Marble Falls High School boys athletics coordinator and head football coach Mike Birdwell. “(Marble Falls boys head basketball coach Matt) Bailey had room to nail it down. We’re trying to provide opportunities for different kids from different walks of life.”
Copeland, who many knew simply as “Brother Max,” passed away in May 2015. He was 85.
MFISD Director of Special Programs Cord Woerner said few people did more for the residents of Burnet County than Brother Max.
“He was the most generous man I ever met in my life,” Woerner said. “He was just a top-notch human being. He loved and supported everybody through good times and bad. We have very, very loyal fans, and he’s right up there.”
When Copeland and his wife, Glenna, moved to Marble Falls in 1958, he quickly became a fixture at youth activities.
It’s estimated that Copeland watched so many community youth games and middle school and high school contests it would equal watching a game a night for 22 consecutive years.
Copeland believed that, to reach the most people, he needed to be where they were, and a lot of them were on a field or in a gymnasium. He especially loved being around children and the young players, said Woerner, a former Marble Falls head football coach and athletics director.
“It’s hard to find people like that, who are tremendously consistent and supportive and have the best of intentions of the kids, the coaches, and the community as the priority,” he said. “Brother Max was an incredible encourager.”
This is the second scholarship drive of the school year. The first one was during the football team’s 35-21 win against Seguin on Oct. 27.
That night was the result of numerous conversations between Birdwell, MFISD Superintendent Chris Allen, and Amber Weems, publisher of The Picayune and DailyTrib.com and general manager of KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune.
Several residents were thinking about how to keep Copeland’s legacy of kindness, encouragement, and unconditional love alive.
Knowing his love for sports, children, and the Mustangs, they quickly realized a scholarship was the perfect way to honor the man affectionately known as the Mustangs’ minister.
The red socks honor Copeland’s memory because he was known for wearing red socks and red suspenders. Red chairs in a sea of purple at Mustang Stadium and Max Copeland/Marble Falls High School gymnasium were installed specifically for Copeland.
While the district held a similar fundraiser during football season, Birdwell said this is a chance to reach another group of people with Copeland’s legacy.
“We want to try to duplicate what we did in the fall,” Birdwell said. “There are basketball parents and people who don’t go to the football games.”
The boys coordinator said he received letters from various churches that got involved with the scholarship, and people couldn’t help but tell their favorite Brother Max stories. Birdwell said it was great to hear them, especially since he didn’t know the pastor.
“It blew our staff away and our kids away,” he said about the October program honoring Copeland. “And I know coach Bailey and those guys would love to play their tails off and have the same result we did against Seguin.”
The community is invited to attend the game and honor Copeland. While tipoff is at 6:30 p.m., the team’s senior players and their parents will be honored before the start of the game.