Texas Wesleyan University’s new football team’s head coach, Joe Prud’homme, held the team’s first meeting Tuesday afternoon in the McFadden Lecture Hall.
Football has been controversial at Wesleyan, but the program should speak for itself by producing well-rounded athletes, Prud’homme said.
“I want a program that Texas Wesleyan is proud of,” Prud’homme said.
Prud’homme held the meeting in order to get the team acquainted, and let them know that he has high expectations for them as students, athletes and people, he said.
“First of all you’re going to be a student, athlete second; but you’re going to represent us, you’re going to represent each other,” Prud’homme said. “It is critical the way you carry yourself, people judge all of us by one of us.”
The team will begin practicing on Tuesday, Sept. 6 and will practice Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays on the campus mall. Practices will be 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., Prud’homme said. The players will also be in the weight room this semester, focusing on gaining strength and stamina.
In the spring, the team will begin practicing plays at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth.
The assistant coaches support all of these high expectations along with performing typical coaching tasks, Prud’homme said.
The players are expected to be polite and courteous of everyone they come into contact with and behave responsibly at all times, defensive coordinator Paul Duckworth said.
“The fact is we are a clean program,” Duckworth said. “We are a drug-free, alcohol-free program.”
It’s extremely important to the whole staff that the football players strive for greatness and live up to expectations on the field, in the classroom, and in their everyday lives, Prud’homme said.
“I like the standards and expectations the coaches have,” student coach Andre Dawkins, sophomore education major, said. “I think it’s what will make the program great.”
Fullback Zack Lanham, a sophomore criminal justice major, said the program is supposed to make the players more mature.
“This program is meant to take boys and turn them into men via academics, character, and overall integrity,” Zack Lanham, a sophomore criminal justice major, said. “It’s time for us to grow up, enhance our skills, and put our bodies to the test, for most of us, at the highest level possible.”
Most of the players are used to being held to a higher standard on the field and off, said tight end Logan Butler, a sophomore biochemistry major.
“The rules are pretty fair and common. If you break it, you should expect to pay for it,” Butler said.
Prud’homme said the high expectations don’t just encompass the athletes’ character but their football abilities as well. He wants the players to be great people, but also excellent football players.
“We expect you to play this game the way it’s meant to be played – smart, aggressive, and relentless,” Prud’homme said. “When we hit spring it’s time to compete.”