John Stout is going to be a busy man this fall.
Stout has a full-time job at Caterpillar, but after he leaves work every day, he will be coaching the Lifegate Christian Falcons football team.
The 50-year-old was the defensive coordinator for the Falcons last year and accepted the head coaching job this summer.
“It’s a little hard, but you can do anything with God,” Stout said of his schedule, which includes being at work by 4 a.m. so he can get to practice at 3 in the afternoon.
“They work with me and let me leave early to go to practice,” he said. “Most days I go home after practice, see the wife and the kids, eat something and then go to bed.
“I’m pushing it a little, but it keeps me young.”
Stout has always had a love for football, starting playing as a boy in San Benito, near Harlingen in South Texas.
He played through his youth in Carrizo Springs, and in Uvalde in high school as a center, linebacker and kicker.
Stout recalled a special pee wee team he was a part of in Carrizo Springs.
“In Carrizo, we lost every game one year, and then the next year we went 9-2,” he said. “Our first year we were just playing around, at that age we were just out there to have fun.
“But then something kicked in over the summer, we decided that we wanted to win and came together really well.”
His kicking skills developed fully in high school.
“I was actually mentioned in the Texas Football Magazine in 1988 for my kicking,” Stout said. “In practice my longest was 52 (yards), and in an actual game it was 43.”
Football appealed to him because of the team aspect of the game.
“I love being able to get out there, be with the other boys and become a team,” Stout said. “It was fun to come together as a team, because you can’t do it all on your own.”
His teams at Uvalde consistently made the playoffs, losing his senior year by one point to Kerrville in his final playoff game.
Little league coach
After high school, Stout attended Texas State Technical Institute, where he became a diesel mechanic. He worked in the environmental field for about 15 years before taking a job at Caterpillar in Seguin, back as a mechanic.
Stout was a volunteer coach in the Seguin Little League program, coaching two of his daughters in softball.
He started coaching at Lifegate four years ago, coaching the middle school team, and then moved up to the high school staff last year as the defensive coordinator.
The father of seven, he’s had players on the team, including his son, Joseph Menchaca, that was freshman of the year last year for the Falcons. Two others are of college age, while four more (two sons, two daughters) are younger and attending Lifegate.
“I’ve got more coming up to be on the football team,” Stout said. “They keep telling me I’ve got the football team and the cheerleaders.”
Stout volunteered his time as a coach for the last four years, but will be paid, at least a little, for the head coaching job.
“It’s not very much, but it’s about the boys,” Stout said. “Once they get out of here and go to college I want them to know how to go through life.”
It’s the impact on the kids that Stout enjoys the most about coaching.
“About two years ago, a young woman came to work at Caterpillar,” Stout said. “She asked me if I was coach Stout, and I recognized her. She said she had played for me, that I had spoken good words into her, and she was there because of the words I spoke to her.”
While he was coaching in little league, football was still on his mind.
“Even when I wasn’t coaching football, I was going to games or going and helping somebody with something to do with football,” Stout said.
Coaching a six-man program has it’s differences from an 11-man football team.
“It was a little learning curve in the beginning, but it’s all basically the same,” Stout said. “Coach (John) Rabon and Kenny Coffman have built this program to where it is now, so it’s a blessing to be able to come into the program and coach — and they are already at a high level when you first come in.”
The school recently switched leagues, from TAPPS to the smaller TCAL league, where they won the state title last year.
“We could have made a run in TAPPS also,” Stout said. “With the way the boys came together last year, we were really playing some good ball.”
While the techniques of running, throwing, catching and tackling are the same in six-man, the fewer players on the field mean the kids have to be in great shape, he said.
“You’ve got a lot more field to cover,” Stout said. “In 11-man you are trying to cut them off, and it’s the same in six-man, you just have less people to do it with.”
“There’s a lot more speed — every one of your players has to have a lot of speed and endurance.”
Stout expects the team to play well this season, as most , if not all of the players are coming back this season.
“There may be one or two that don’t play,” Stout said. “With the full team we had last year, we had players on the field that were great, but we had a lot of players on the sidelines that were great too.”
He’s expecting the team to have around 11 or 12 players this fall.
“We’re fine at the high school level, but we’re lacking (players) a little in middle school,” Stout said. “My 10-year-old will be in sixth grade next year, and we have four or five others that want to play, so I think we’ll have enough to start over and get it going.”
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .