April 13, 2021 - During the Rotary Club meeting held Tuesday, April 6, Center ISD’s new Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Ricky Meeks outlined his foundation pillars to achieve the athletic program’s mission statement building character one play at a time.
Rotary Club President Camille Stanfield introduced Coach Meeks giving a summary of his background. She also read a portion of a newsletter from Kelly West, Alto ISD Superintendent, which is the school Coach Meeks was before coming to Center: "Coach Meeks has been the true essence of leadership in his three years with us influencing our young student athletes, bringing everyone together for a common cause, taking ownership of the program and working with a true purpose. He has embodied honor, integrity, and professional ethics. He has served as a wonderful role model for our kids. He has been totally committed in his job and has been unconditionally loyal to those he has served."
Coach Meeks expressed his appreciation for being invited to the Rotary Club meeting and spoke with excitement about coming to Center.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be here,” said Coach Meeks. “I was here in 2015; I was here for one school year. Lacy and I came to Henderson in 2007. We were in Henderson from 2007 to 2013 and a guy that I worked with at that time got the head job in Tatum and so I was here that one year and when he got that job, he offered me to go back to work with him. We worked together 7 or 8 years. But from the time I left Center, Lacy and I have always wanted to be back. It felt like home to us, the community was great, involved in the church, involved in the school, involved in the festivals, it was a time for us that we really grew as a family. So, we wanted to be in a place where we could be a part of the community, our kids can be a part of the community, church, youth sports, school, and ever since we left Center this is where we wanted to be back."
This week is Coach Meeks sixth week on the job. He presented the Rotary Club members with a handout outlining his program and mission.
"I view athletics as co-curricular with our school,” said Coach Meeks. “I don't like it as extracurricular. I don't want it to seem like we are doing something extra than what the normal school day is. We want to be a part of the school, we want to be a part of the teachers, the administration, be as co-curricular with everything that we do. So, our mission is very simple: we want to build character one play at a time."
"There are five pillars for a reason,” Coach Meeks continued, “because the majority of the time we have our kids for five days a week. So, we are intentional about building every single day. So, where we can be intent with our kids, driving home the character, driving home our pillars, and we are creating a common language with our student athletes to where we are able to work towards building the better man, the better woman. And helping them understand that at the end of the day the airs going to be let out of the ball and what are we as a person." He continued, "Because sports are going to end for 99.99% of them. We'll be fortunate to have that .01% that we'll be able to support when they go into college and maybe even beyond that, but for the rest of them, when they graduate in May of their 12th grade year, that's it. So, what do they have?"
Coach Meeks added that the mission statement and the pillars will help with what they have after graduation. He described the five pillars and how the coaches will work together to speak to the students with a common language to make improvements and trust the process.
"The thing that is tough with them is understanding that money's not your wealth, your time is,” continued Coach Meeks. “If they continue to just waste it, whether its home on video games or on the couch watching TV or just spinning our wheels not doing anything, then we are not getting any wealthier through our time. It's a challenge don't get me wrong, none of this will be easy, but I do know that as we are going through it, as we make progress, we are going to have a product the community is going to be proud of, we'll have a product that the community can get behind, and we are going to have young women and young men that hopefully your able to hire in your work force and their going to be a good employee for you."
The Center Rotary Club meets at the John D. Windham Civic every Tuesday at Noon.