‘He’s the biggest Raider fan I’ve ever met’

Byron Dowling

“One Family, One Team,” these are the words that signify the post-Ponder era with Coach Garfield to take the reins as Rider’s new head football coach and athletic coordinator.

“I was really excited,” Coach James Garfield said after being named the head coach. “I love Rider High School and I love the students of Rider,” Garfield said. “Wichita Falls is a football town,” Garfield said.

Garfield, who has been coaching at Rider for nine year also brings experience from Eastern New Mexico State, Midwestern State University, Socorro High School, and served as the head coach at Corpus Christi Flower Bluff High School.

Becoming the head football coach at Rider, however, came at a personal cost to Coach Garfield.

In order to become the head football coach and Athletic coordinator, Garfield had to give up his special education teaching job, one which is very important to him and made the decision difficult to make.

“The main thing that I struggled with was him leaving the classroom,” principal Judy McDonald said. “Fortunately, we found Coach Lane.” “Gar is a great mentor to him.”

McDonald along with Athletic Director Kenny Catney and Superintendent George Kazanas discussed the duties with Garfield about the requirements and the expectations it takes to be the head football coach.

“He was very well suited for the job,” McDonald said. “He was interested in the job from the get go, and he’s the biggest Raider fan I’ve ever met, he’s a Raider through and through.”

As far as the football aspect goes, Coach Garfield wants to put his signature on the Rider Raider Football program, establish a faster tempo, but also help his players become good role models in the community.

“My philosophies haven’t changed,” Garfield said.

Garfield still believes that the lessons learned from playing football can not only benefit a person athletically but also believes the respect of authority learned in football can be used in every aspect of life.

“I still want to be someone that the kids can come to,” Garfield said.  “My door is always open.”

When the players heard the news they knew what to expect.

“Coach Gar is someone that knows the program and what Rider football is all about.

“He’s energetic and excited about what’s going on,” senior wide receiver Graham McGregor said.

Senior offensive line man Daniel Olivo agrees.

“Everyone already knew what Coach Garfield was about,” Olivo said.

“It’s better having him as a coach instead of having to get use to a new coach.”

Senior wide receiver Devon Garvin says Garfield’s greatest strength is his ability to bring the team together.

“[He] brings us together as a team, One Family, One Team,” Garvin said.

Garfield has succeeded in that aspect as he has the respect of not just the football team but the whole school.

“He’s always looking out for the players, making sure they have a future,” junior Anna Jackson said. “He helps you regardless if you’re on the team.”