GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - After four decades of taking part of the Friday night lights tradition in Texas, Grapeland Head Coach Wayne Mahaffey is retiring
Mahaffey confirmed Wednesday morning that he was retiring. For the past 22 years, Mahaffey has been a head coach.
He has been at Grapeland for the previous five seasons. Mahaffey leaves after bringing Grapeland one of the best seasons in recent memory. The Sandies went 12-2 this past season, and they made it all the way to the regional semifinals. His team went 6-0 in district and brought home the community’s first district title in 20 seasons.
“I have got to be around these seniors since they were in eighth grade,” Mahaffey said. “They have bought into the program and turned this football team around and made it fun. These guys have been in the playoffs all four years and have been in the third round the last two years. That is to their credit.”
Mahaffey started in the 1970s. His first job was in Beckville. That was followed up by a job in Kemp, then a few years in Grapeland as an assistant before moving on to a job in Bridge City. After eight years in Bridge City, Mahaffey became the head coach in Bartlett. After Bartlett, he was the head coach in Kaufman, Wimberly, and Rusk. He then moved to Hamshire Fannett as an assitant before taking a job at Brook Hill for a year. After that year, the opportunity to move back to Grapeland came up and he took it, making it his final coaching destination.
“We are proud of Coach Mahaffey,” said Grapeland Superintendent Don Jackson. “We have been competitive in other sports, but football success was up and down. He changed that. We are now looking for a new coach to continue that - to continue to teach young men the game of football and have football teach the game of life. Athletics prepares a student for life experiences, and that is what we want with the football program.”
The work Mahaffey did with the Sandies made the rivalry between Lovelady and Grapeland have new meaning this season with the district championship on the line at the game. Now both programs will look to new coaches to continue the rivalry with Lovelady’s Jon Lowery also stepping down.
“I met coach Mahaffey in the 90s when he moved from Wimberly to Rusk," Lowery said. “Great guy. It just comes a time where you hand it off to the younger coaches. He did a great job turning it around. We are 30 minutes apart. These players in Lovelady and Grapeland are friends before and after the game, but in the game, it is a battle. He did a great job putting in a work ethic to work hard and play hard. That is what you want out of high school football."
Mahaffey’s retirement will go into effect on July 31 at then end of his contract.
“I will be living here in the community,” Mahaffey said. “I will be getting some gardening done and playing some golf. My wife is from here, and our daughter and son-in-law are here with our two grandkids. One is seven, and one is two, They both work, so we will be keeping the grandkids and hopefully watching them play for the Sandies one day.”