ODESSA, TX (KWES) - A former Odessa college gymnastics coach recently released a book titled 'See You at the Top'. The author, Michael R. Wilson reflects on his experiences in West Texas when he and the former OC president replaced the Wrangler football team with a men's gymnastics program.
Most people can agree, football is an obvious front runner when it comes to the most popular sport in West Texas and its been that way for awhile.
Back in the 60's, the Odessa College president at the time Dr. Rogers made a possibly unpopular decision and got rid of the schools' football program to start a men's gymnastics team. He brought in Mike Wilson to be the head coach.
"The sun rose and set because Mike Wilson told it to rise and set. He was incredibly intense and demanding but took good care of his athletes all of them just loved him. He was probably as demanding as any coach anywhere and as beloved as any coach anywhere," said ECISD executive director of athletics and former Permian gymnastics coach Todd Vesely who was a gymnast at Odessa college shortly after Wilson had moved on.
"I had a teammate who competed for Coach Wilson, was recruited by Coach Wilson and came down and he was a few years ahead of me so I just missed coach Wilson by a few years," said Vesely.
Although Vesely arrived after Coach Wilson, his legacy was still alive and well in West Texas having built the OC gymnastics program to be one of the best in the country.
"People from all over wanted to be apart of Odessa College gymnastics," explained Vesely.
Wilson's book is available online. After Odessa College, Wilson went on to coach at Ohio State and was later heavily involved in the U.S. Gymnastics program. Currently, he's said to be traveling with his wife and spending a good amount of time in sunny Florida.