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Cornel Thompson reflects on Mustang memories ahead of SETCA Hall of Honor induction

The Southeast Texas Coaches Association will induct the former West Orange-Stark football coach to its Hall of Honor on January 28 at the MCM Elegante.

BEAUMONT, Texas — If you know anything about West Orange-Stark's former head coach Cornel Thompson, you know his job ruled his life for more than 50 years, but in retirement he traded in Mustangs for Longhorns.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Thompson said. "I'm getting to do the things that I want to do. You've seen what keeps me busy all them cows out there and I've got four pastures, working on fence, and keeping those boogers alive."

However, even though he thinks it can be, a career like Thompson's isn't easily forgotten.

"I've got a great fear," Thompson said. "I've got a fear that they may forget me and I don't want to be forgotten."

"I hope, and I'll say that I'm not that vein but I'm pretty vein, I hope that I have made a tremendous mark on many a young men and young ladies," Thompson said.

He definitely left a mark on one woman when they first met and she has been his right hand for more than 30 years.

"I'm in awe of him and all that he's done," Thompson's wife Frances said. "I don't know if he realizes how much he has impacted others but I see it."

"It's been amazing to watch his career," Frances said. "It's been amazing to be a part of it. It's been amazing to be the one yelling for him, cheering him on."

Frances will get to cheer on her husband as a coach one more time when he's inducted to the Southeast Texas Coaches Associations Hall of Honor, recognizing Thompson for his winning program and his winning heart.

"This little award that I'm fixing to get it's not about me," Thompson said. "It's about the coaches and the players and the people, the faculty in the 80's and the 90's that was with us at West Orange-Stark. It's all about those people there because they made contributions."

"Like I told Ms.Frances, whenever I pass away I want the bottom of my tombstone down there to say 'it's been fun' because it has, and I truly mean that," Thompson said. "I couldn't think of another profession that I would rather be in where I could possibly have the impact on young people that I have.

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