MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Clint Hartman took over the Midland Lee football program last year. Year two and his team went farther in the playoffs than the Rebels had in the past 16 years. He and his staff are quickly putting Midland Lee back on the Texas high school football map, but also creating a family.
"I love you like I always say and you can come in that office any time you want and some of us we'll be doing this for the rest of our lives," said Hartman.
"I love you" might be the most common phrase in the Midland Lee locker room, and just like anything that happens on the field, it starts with the head coach. Hartman chooses to say those three words often - because of his old head coach, Jimmie Keeling.
Hartman played for Coach Keeling at Hardin-Simmons University. The 82-year-old attended Lee's regional playoff game, and following the loss, he witnessed a lot of what Coach Hartman calls a highlight to his career.
"When you get to hug 'em and you love 'em with pads on, it's a special deal. You get to hug them when they're off the field and you get to hug them at graduation and you get to hug them when they come back to visit you. But it's different when you hug them in shoulder pads and helmet," said Hartman.
The guys in the shoulder pads are pretty happy to have been a part of Hartman's reign.
"I'm glad Coach Hartman came my sophomore year because without him this wouldn't have happened. It's an actual family," said Senior Quarterback, Colby Standard.