Ron Gammill – SBMSA Football Legend

Ron Gammill – SBMSA Football Legend

Ron “Coach” Gammill’s love of football started in high school when he was an all-state high school quarterback for Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. After graduating from college, he moved his family to Jackson, Mississippi and while in the oil business he began coaching football at the Jackson boys club. He was transferred to Houston and started coaching the Frostwood Tigers in 1968. In those days, the elementary teams consisted of A and B teams because the participation in tackle football was so high. In 1968, both Frostwood Tigers A and B teams went undefeated and won the Tully bowl. This was the first of three of Coach Gammill’s Tully bowl championships. Coach Gammill retired from coaching in 1972 and became SBMSA a football’s program director in 1972, 1974, and 1975. (In 1972, a record of 1640 players enrolled in SBMSA tackle football.)

In 1973, several Frostwood boys signed the petition asking Coach Gammill to come out of retirement. He did so and coached through 1975. He ended his Coaching career at the Tully bowl championship playing against his good friend, Coach Bill Graham. It was a very close game.

Coach Gammill loved all of his boys. He did not play favorites and every player had to earn their position, including his son. Coach Gammill was passionate about coaching and mentoring his boys. Every August you would take a week of vacation and the Frostwood Tigers would start the season with two-a-days in full pads. He was known to hand out red shirt practice jerseys to starting A players. He would tell them you have to earn your red shirt every week if you want to remain on the A team. He coached both A and B teams with the A team playing on Tuesday nights and the B team on Saturday mornings. Coach Gammill made a living in the oil business, but his passion was coaching and working with kids. He expected much from his boys and loved them all, and in return, they trusted him. He had a unique way of connecting with his players using a little bit of fear, and a lot of love and humor. He always told his boys “football is a rough game and it is OK to cry if you get hurt, but I expect you to get up”.

Coach Gammill also loved the camaraderie and competition from other Coaches Larry Jones (Bunker Hill Lions) and Bill Graham (Bendwood Packers) were two of his closest friends and fiercest competitors.

Coach Gammill also taught Sunday school at Tallowood Baptist Church where many of his players would attend, and they would talk about Moses (“Big Mo”). Coach Gammill was known to pick up his players and take them to church.

Coach Gammill passed away in 1989 after a struggle with cancer. During his illness, many former players from around the country sent him letters thanking him for the impact he had on them as a boy. At the funeral, his son Brian gave the eulogy, and there on the second row at the service where Coach Graham and Coach Jones, sitting together.

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