Frank Arnold has been to the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame banquet.
He’s known others who have been inducted.
But the long-time football coach and athletic director had no idea and never expected he would ever be inducted.
“It’s pretty humbling,” Arnold said. “When you look at the many names who have been inducted into this Hall of Fame it’s pretty humbling. It’s gratifying. I’m just overwhelmed with the whole thing.”
But why wouldn’t Arnold be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
His coaching career spanned 20 years, the final four of which came at Converse Judson where he led the Rockets to the 5A state championship in 1983.
Arnold then became Judson’s athletic director in 1984 where he served for 21 years.
“My time there was outstanding,” Arnold said. “Judson was very good to Frank Arnold. My high school coach (Roy Wallace) hired me. He was the athletic director. He aws a mentor of mine for years. I spent a few years with him before he retired. It’s just a special place.”
Arnold took over for the late Jerry Sanders who led the Rockets from 9-40-1 the previous five seasons to 30-4 with a district championship each season during his three years (1977-79).
And Arnold built upon that success, as Judson went 42-9 during his four seasons, including the state title run in 1983.
“It was just awesome,” Arnold said. “In 1982 we advanced to the state semifinals. We lost to Beaumont West Brook who went on to win the state championship that year. I think that prepared us for the next year.
“We had a great group of kids, great group of coaches. The kids gave great effort. It was very satisfying to be able to win it all and see some of those kids who were average athletes play beyond their means and perform so well.”
Arnold was 42-9 in four years at Judson and 101-42-2 in his coaching career with stops at San Antonio Sam Houston, Jefferson, Holmes and MacArthur.
Months after winning the title in 1983, Arnold succeeded Wallace as athletic director and then promoted defensive coordinator D.W. Rutledge to head coach.
Arnold has been inducted into the THSCA Hall of Honor, the THSCA Athletic Directors Hall of Honor and the San Antonio Sports Foundation Hall of Fame among others.
The Judson athletic facilities were renamed the “Frank Arnold Athletic Center” in 2006.
While each accolade and recognition is humbling for Arnold, these awards were never what he worked so tirelessly toward.
It was the relationships with his players and coaches that he still treasures to this day.
“As much time as you spend together between you and the coaches and the kids, it’s a brotherhood,” Arnold said. “You care about them as athletes, but you care more about them as people. It’s rewarding to see them grow up. As a coach, athletic director and even administrator, it’s great to be a part of (those relationships).
“That’s the super thing about being a coach. You always felt and knew they would improve physically. It was part of our job that we hoped they would improve as people and we could help out along the way.”