Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Irvin hails Buckeyes as 'dynasty' at Ring Ceremony

By MARY L. KIRBY

“The road to championships are paved with peaks and valleys,” former Dallas Cowboy Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin told the audience at the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Gilmer Buckeyes Ring Ceremony presented by Brookshire’s at the Gilmer Civic Center Saturday. “It is a football family that wins a championship.”

“Teams can handle peaks, but the valleys are handled differently,” said the owner of a National Champsionship ring from the University of Miami and three Super Bowl rings.

“Football teams fail in the valley; a football family bonds in the valley,” Irvin pointed out to the full house. “You got to be a football family.”

Irvin pointed out that he had many opportunites to talk to groups from pee wee to professional who had fallen short of their goal. Those individuals want to know what it takes to be a champion, to reach their goal.

“But that is not the case this time,” Irvin said as he paced the Civic Center stage. “This is the first time that I get to stand and speak to what I call a dynasty.”

“You guys are writing a beautiful history here,” he said as he approached his conclusion. “It is a responsibility to keep it, cherish it, and pass it on, a generational blessing.”

The former wide receiver showed the influence of his pastor, Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter’s House, in the pacing of his remarks.

“The greatest gift God gives us is to influence others, and He gives it to us with free will,” Irvin said as he walked down the steps toward Athletic Director and Head Coach Jeff Traylor. He concluded his remarks by shaking hands with the coach for his accomplishments.

The tenor lightened with the announcers from nearby KYKX-FM, Pigskin Bob and Harlan, the Sports Guy, taking over the stage. They were joined by Malcolm Kelly, the former roommate of Gilmer’s Manuel Johnson and now a Washington Redskin, Manny Johnson, Irvin and Gilmer QB Stump Godfrey formed the panel.

Each answered questions on the greatest influence in their lives with Kelly and Irvin saying their fathers and Johnson and Godfrey naming their grandmothers and, in Johnson’s case, his aunt Eleanor.

With all the discussion of championship teams, Kelly had to remind people that the Longview Lobos have four times gone to the state finals without succeeding. His best football memory was beating the University of Texas in his junior year.

The players arrived at the ceremonies in a chartered bus where they walked down a red carpet between two rows of members of the Stars drill team to enter.

Before Irvin arrived, the coaches received plaques and their rings. The speaker was delayed due to the gusty winds which caused the cancellation of his flight to Gilmer.

After Irvin spoke and the panel was held, the ring ceremony continued with groups of players coming up and receiving the rings from Superintendent Rick Albritton and Athletic Director Jeff Traylor before he got a hug from his position coach.

One such coach, Joey Jackson, received a standing ovation when the audience learned he has driven from Tyler for three years while a college student to serve as a coach for the freshmen.


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
“BEST YAM SPORTS SHOW period” panelists regale the audience during the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Gilmer Buckeyes Ring Ceremony presented by Brookshire’s Saturday night at the Gilmer Civic Center. From left are Pigskin Bob, Longview’s Malcolm Kelly of the Washington Redskins, Gilmer’s Manny Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Irvin of ESPN and formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, Gilmer’s Stump Godfrey and Harlan, the Sports Guy. The KYKX-FM sports announcers ran a panel on the “Best Yam Sports Show” as entertainment during the ceremony, which honored the State Champion 2009 Gilmer Buckeyes football team.


Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
SPEAKER MICHAEL IRVIN, right, shakes hands with Gilmer Athletic Director and head football coach Jeff Traylor during the Ring Ceremony at the Gilmer Civic Center Saturday. Between the two men Gilmer Superintendent Rick Albritton is seen and behind Irvin are Diedra and Cade Camp, widow and son of the late Matt Camp, whose courageous battle with cancer inspired the “Code Red” theme the team adopted for the 2009 season. A sellout crowd attended the event where the Gilmer Buckeyes received their rings for winning the UIL Class 3A Division I football championship.


Mirror Photos / Mary Laschinger Kirby
ARRIVING AT the Gilmer Civic Center, Gilmer Buckeyes receiver Tevin Godfrey shakes hands with Master of Ceremonies Jeff Rash. Behind him, approaching on the red carpet between GHS Stars are Luis Castro and, stepping off the bus, Vance Green. In below photo Rash interviews Darian “Stump” Godfrey, New Mexico-bound Texas Class 3A Player of the Year. Looking on as the Buckeyes quarterback speaks are teammates Ben Griffith and Beau Blair. All the players and coaches received their Class 3A Division I football championship rings during the almost 3-hour-long event.



Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
MICHAEL IRVIN inspires the audience Saturday night at the Civic Center.

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:

Irvin Speaks At Gilmer’s Ring Ceremony


From KLTV:

Michael Irvin Visits the Gilmer Buckeyes


From Photos by Ruel:

Buckeyes Ring Ceremony


From YouTube:
Stump Godfrey's Top 20 Plays of the Year