What’s in a name? A lot, when the name is John Outlaw

Chelsea Holman, Eduardo Falcon, and Tacastass Brooks

The sign at the end of John Outlaw Memorial Field in Abe Martin Stadium. (Photo by Eduardo Falcon/Lufkin High School Panther Growls)

Many people overlook the name at the end of Lufkin High School’s football field, not knowing the history behind it.

John Outlaw is best known for 303-89-3 record as a high school football coach. He won two state championships for Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and another for Lufkin High School in 2001. He coached in Sherman, Texas, before coming to Lufkin ISD in 1995.

Outlaw is among the less than 1 percent of high school coaches in America to have achieved the 300-win status.

The late John Outlaw (Photo from The Lufkin Daily News archives)

On Dec. 28, 2011, Coach Outlaw was laid to rest after suffering a heart attack while running in the early morning on Dec. 23. A lot of his former players and friends are still emotional when asked about his legacy.

“Coach Outlaw was a very special person that was great to the community,” Lufkin High School Career and Technical Education counselor Brandie Knight said.

“Coach Outlaw was a very special person to me,” Assistant Football Coach Jeff Cook said. “He was also a father figure and mentor. He was a good listener and was also great with kids.”

Coach James Durham said, “He was the type of person you would want to be around. He always gave second chances. You didn’t have to worry about your flaws, because he never judged.”

A lot of students today do not know about the man whose name is on John Outlaw Memorial Field, but many staff members who have been working for Lufkin ISD for many years will tell you that he was a legend.