VCHS Homecoming spotlight – Bob Isbell
Texas’ loss. Colorado’s gain.Vail Christian head football coach Bob Isbell had been trying to work his way up through the high-school coaching ranks in the Lone Star State. After being passed up for a 4A head-coaching job, Isbell realized that he would have to get a head-coaching job at a 1A or 2A school. That meant a job in a very small, Texas town.”It kind of hit me, at that point, that I couldn’t ask my family to move to a town like that,” Isbell said. “But (my wife) Linda and I made a dream list. What would we really like to do? We had been to Vail a lot of times. We spent the summer in Vail, before we moved to Vail. We said, “We’d love to be in Vail.'”Isbell coached with Pat Phelan at Battle Mountain from 1987-1995, and it spawned the second great era of Huskies football. The duo coached the Huskies to winning seasons and to their only league title in 1991.More than 20 years later, Isbell seems intent on doing the same at Vail Christian. The 8-man Saints have started the season 3-1, going into Saturday’s Homecoming game against Maranatha Christian, and are possibly looking at the school’s first, state-playoff berth.To start Vail Christian Homecoming week, we give you the lowdown on the coach.Birthday: April 15 – “I am Mr. Tax Day.”Born in: Rotan, TexasHigh school: Stamford High School in Texas. His dad was his coach.Position: Linebacker/running backMom: TrudieWife: Linda, VCHS French and theology teacher and heads up Masters Teachers Program.How’s your French: “Chevrolet? Passez-moi les pommes de terre. And, I can do, “D’accord.’ I go over to France and nod well.”Children: Chris, 27, married to Abigail (They live in Cincinnati.); Travis, 24, (Attending med school at Texas A&M.)What do you love about football?: “I think, No. 1, the camaraderie, the teamwork it takes, whether it’s 11 individuals or eight on the field to make a play work. Then, for those individuals to come together with one goal in mind, it takes a lot of discipline. I think that’s good for young men. That’s probably the main thing.”What are your fond memories from Battle Mountain?: “Pat Phelan and we had some talented athletes – Jeff Rohlwing, Jay Henry. You think he’s a world-class biker? He was an outstanding football player. Just working with Pat. We had a great staff. John Kitzmann was there. Just the athletes themselves.”What’s the satisfaction of building a program?: “From the ground up, here’s the group of young people, who have been so instrumental in it. Just watching them go through the process to establish this program. I really enjoy watching athletes excel. It’s fun to watch a program go from zero to where the seniors have brought it at this point. Just to be a little part of it is great.”Best Saints moment so far?: “The first win (vs. Gilpin County in 2000), that was huge. That was great. But, I mean, last week was sweet, (beating Silver State, 32-6).Your favorite Homecoming memory?: “Gosh. That’s so far back I’d have to look on the tablets to see that.”How excited are you for 2003 Homecoming?: “It’s fun. You pick up the excitement from the students. They enjoy all the activities, and it just kind of rubs off on you.”Favorite sports team: “Of course, I just loved watching the Broncos (Monday night), kicking the Raiders. I’m a big Broncos fan. I used to be a huge Cowboys fan back in the Tom Landry, Roger Staubach era. I have a good friend who’s the running-backs coach for the Buffalo Bills. So I root for the Bills, even though (Vail Christian teacher) Dave Sharp does.”Favorite coach: Bill Shipman, Andrews High School in Texas – “He hired me. I knew football, but he really taught me the game. Bill knew so much football. I spent six years there with him and learned so much.”Favorite TV show: West WingWill President Jeb Bartlett survive in tonight’s episode?: “He’s going to hang on, but I think it’s going to get nasty. I think John Goodman’s going come down on somebody.”Favorite movie: The GladiatorFavorite movie star: Mel Gibson, likes Denzel Washington, too.Favorite book: “I love Clive Cussler books. So, anything that Clive Cussler writes.”Hobbies: Fly-fishing and golfBiggest fish you ever caught?: “An ugly, old carp. I went to a fly-fishing carp tournament a couple of years ago down at Alamosa or some place. It was only like eight pounds.”On golf: “I’m addicted to it.”Handicap: “Ugly.”Have any holes-in-one?: “This is the honest truth. This is not a lie. I have started this club – anyone who’s had a hole-in-one on their birthday, income-tax day, and Easter. It was two or three years ago. Chris and Travis were both in town. It was Easter. It was my birthday and it was Sunday after church. We go out and Linda’s there and her sister and her husband and we’re playing. We’re on hole No. 12, I hit an 8-iron. We’re just watching it and it went in. I’m going, “My goodness gracious, how much could this get any better?'”Mac or PC: PCFavorite food: Meat and potatoesFavorite pizza slice: “Lots of meat. Meat-lovers.”Favorite car: 1966 Mustang – “That was the first one I ever had.”Favorite color: BlueFirst word: “It was probably football.”If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be: MesquiteIf you were ruler of the world for one day, what would you do?: “I think I could straighten out the whole world in one day.”(Ed. note: We don’t doubt it, Bob.)Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.