by Michael Patrick
If you have never had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Coach Rodney Haught then you have missed a real treat. Coach Haught is arguably the most sincere and humble person you will ever meet. After a 30 year career in education, he gave his last exam, plugged in his final grade, turned the lights out and locked the door to his classroom for the last time this past Friday. Coach Haught spent 22 years of his career in Colmesneil ISD in some capacity. He has been a coach, teacher, and administrator for Colmesneil. But, even more importantly he has been someone the students and other staff can look up to and model themselves after as you will not find a more genuine and caring individual.
At the Colmesneil Athletic Banquet this year it was said that no one has ever heard a bad thing said about Coach Haught and there is a reason for that, the reason, Coach Haught has never said anything bad about anyone else. In a world where people are quick to find problems with others, Coach Haught always finds something good about everyone he comes across.
Again, Coach Haught spent 22 years in Colmesneil ISD. That is almost unheard of now days for a teacher/coach to spend that amount of time in one district whether it is by their choice or not. That is a testament to his loyalty in a profession that many times is not loyal in return. Rodney Haught got his start in education in 1984, teaching and coaching in Anna ISD. He would spend five years there, before making his way to Colmesneil. Coach Haught did leave Colmesneil for a brief time to advance his career and move into administration. He was at Blue Ridge for two years as a principal and then he went to Chilton for one year. Then he got a phone call from Elton Hightower asking if he would be interested in coming back to Colmesneil to be the junior high principal. Coach Haught got to come home to Colmesneil and Colmesneil got back, if not the best, one of the best teachers/coaches/administrators to ever walk these hallowed halls.
Rodney Haught spent 24 years of his career coaching. He spent 19 of those 24 years coaching at Colmesneil. He has coached every sport, in some capacity except for volleyball and golf. So, Coach Haught is well rounded when it comes to sports. But, the one sport he was a mainstay in was football as he coached it for 23 of those 24 years.
Coach Haught has seen and coached some of the greatest athletes to ever walk the halls of Colmesneil. He has been a part of some of the greatest teams to ever wear the old red and white for the Bulldogs. An example of this is in his first year at Colmesneil he was an assistant coach for the State Champion Bulldog baseball team. There are too many highlights to name every highlight of Coach Haught's coaching career, but here are just a few of them. He led the girl's high school and junior high school track teams to a sweep of the district championships in 1998. He led the junior high football team to an undefeated season during the 2011-2012 season. When he was head track coach, he coached Heather Pierson and Lori Martin to the state meet. He loved being a part of this year's football team that saw the Bulldogs win 10 games and get their first play-off win since 1981. That was icing on the cake for Coach Haught as he has been part of many Bulldog football teams that made the play-offs, but never had one won a play-off game.
While sitting down with Coach Haught, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom for future teachers/coaches? He did not even hesitate and responded, "Find something people don't want to do and you do it. Do it well and it will open doors for other things." He also added, "Show kids that you care for them and they'll try to run through a wall for you."
If you look for Coach Haught in August, you'll have to look for him in the Tyler/Longview area as he will be moving closer to his family. While there, he is going to be venturing into his next career as an auctioneer. He is also going to do some travelling and continue his love for farming. You will still be able to find Coach Haught on a football field or in a gym, because he is going to try the other side of athletic competitions as he will venture into becoming a referee for various sports.
There were many influential people in Coach Haught's career, really too many to list. But, there were some that were extremely impactful in his coaching career. These gentlemen will always hold a special place in Coach Haught's heart, R.B. Moffett, Mike Jacobs, Ben Stewart Jr., Larry Stinson, and Roy Harmon.
Before we ended our conversation, Coach Haught being the humble man he is, wanted to add a few words. He wanted to say, "I want to thank all of the students, teachers, and staff for their support and help over the years. I was able to learn a lot from so many people who were so willing to share with me. I am thankful for the opportunity to work for Colmesneil ISD, it was a great fit."
When the Bulldogs kickoff their 2014 season on August 29, it will not be the same, not seeing Coach Haught on the sideline or in the press box helping to coach the Bulldogs to victory. But, Coach Haught will always be a part of Colmesneil athletics as this year the athletic department changed the name of their "Fighting Bulldog" award to the "Coach Haught Fighting Bulldog"award, because he exemplifies everything Colmesneil and any school for that matter should want their student-athletes to strive to be.
For this writer, I am privileged to have gotten to know Coach Haught and gotten to spend time listening to stories about Colmesneil athletics. But, I am even more proud and privileged to call Rodney Haught my friend. As Coach Haught rides off into the sunset his voice will forever echo on the fields and in the gyms at Colmesneil, "All my life I wanted to be a Bulldog! Work! Work! Work!"