Texas College is turning a new page in its history and the man who is going to be responsible for that is Rodney Blackshear.
Those were the words from TC athletic director Elissia Burwell Thursday afternoon as the school introduced its new acting head football coach at TC’s Glass Auditorium.
Blackshear joins the Steers after 11 years of coaching Arena League football and as a college assistant. He is a former Texas Tech standout wide receiver who enjoyed a short NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. Blackshear played for Spike Dykes and was an assistant for both Mike Leach and Art Briles (at University of Houston).
“This is a great day for Steer football and a great day for me,” Blackshear said. “I am excited about the opportunity and we are going to play smart, sound football … we are going to play the game the way it is supposed to be played.
“I am excited to be here. This is a great opportunity and I plan on taking this (job) by the horns and getting after it.”
Texas College’s administration was forced to act quickly following the sudden departure of George Cumby earlier this week, who left to become the new athletic director at Bishop T.K. Gorman.
Dr. Dwight Fennell, Texas College President, said a short list was assembled of candidates and calls were made to those candidates before deciding to bring them in “one by one” for interviews.
“Mr. Blackshear was here yesterday and he did a (tremendous) job and the interview committee gave him high marks,” Fennell said. “We are very pleased that coach Blackshear has accepted the position.”
The Steers new football coach played for Texas Tech from 1987-1991 and established the Southwest Conference single-game receiving record with 251 yards on just five catches against Houston. Blackshear was a two-time All-SWC player. Against Texas A&M in 1990, Blackshear returned a kickoff back for a touchdown against the Aggies’ 12th Man kickoff unit.
That caused A&M to discontinue what had been a longstanding tradition of using all walk-ons as the kickoff team.
“My friends call me the 12th Man killer,” Blackshear said in a 2013 interview with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “I returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Texas A&M that basically destroyed the 12th Man. They hadn’t given up a kick-return touchdown in College Station since like 1939.”
Blackshear played for seven seasons in the Arena Football League and after starting his coaching career in college became an assistant and later head coach in the Indoor Football League.
“I know a few coaches who have been here in the past and have coached some players that have been here. X’Zavier Bloodsaw I had in Amarillo when I was coaching arena football,” Blackshear continued. “It’s a great opportunity for me and I feel I am the right man for the job or else they wouldn’t have hired me. I just have to go out and prove it.”
Blackshear now takes over a TC football team that hasn’t won more than two games in any one season since 2007 and that team finished just 3-7. The Steers have won four games in the past five seasons combined.
The new man in charge understands what he’s up against, but is confident he will get things going in the winning direction.
“I will evaluate the players we have here, but at the same time you always want to improve your roster,” Blackshear said. “Each year you want to improve; whether you won five games or 10 games the year prior, you always want to improve. If you establish that mentality, everything else will take care of himself.”
Texas College opens up its 2014 season on Aug. 30 against Belhaven University at Chapel Hill High School’s Bulldog Stadium.