- I spent more time in HS with Mike Murrie than any other friend, which is kind of funny since we didn’t always get along in junior high. We were both late bloomers that preferred playing basketball at the church on a Saturday night to just about anything else. Together with a handful of likeminded others, we formed the “No Brew No Screw No Chew” crew. Not a lot of teenagers at the time begging to get into that particular club. That said, we had a good time and good memories for a group of kids who eschewed vices!
- I could be wrong, but anecdotally at least it seems there’s a lot more teens these days making the choices Mike and I made then than there were at the time. Then again, you’d have to add “No Tatoo” for 21st century teens.
- Mike enjoyed the company of his family as much if not more to hanging out with the fellas. Real credit to Ernie and Linda Murrie, who were surrogate parents to me. The kid in “Sixteen Candles” that the parents are forcing to attend the dance and who pleads “no, no! I want to stay home with you guys!”…that character could have loosely been based on Mike. As a result, the compromise was often that we hang out at Mike’s house. That was fine by me, considering Mike’s parents made it a kid’s haven.
- If you could choose one person from the DHS class of ’89 to do a public speaking engagement, who would you pick? Mike Murrie would make an excellent choice. Listen to the audio – it’s amazing to hear him and realize exactly how polished and well-spoken he has become!
- Mike has a commercial driver’s license, an assistant, and a team of 50 people that he is responsible for coordinating in his area of responsibility. He also is an experienced logistician and event planner. His day off each week is Thursday. Any guesses on his career?
- I would have wagered my savings as a high school student that Mike would grow up to be a successful businessperson and “millionaire next door” type. He has those natural proclivities. I’ve never met anyone better able to manage costs better than Mike – he understood early the notion of leverage. The only hint of braggadocio you’ll hear on the audio is how, in his 22+ years of managing a budget as a youth pastor, he’s never once gone a penny over. Not surprising!
- While Mike would have been great in business, I think we’re all lucky that Mike has devoted himself to the teens of his community as a youth pastor. I remember hearing from people how Mike would go into the high school after graduation and eat lunch with / support the kids in his youth group, which is beyond what I ever witnessed with the fantastic youth ministers to whom I had exposure as a youth. That role is a surrogate parent for a lot of kids.
- Different people end up on this blog for different reasons. I’ve kept in touch with Mike through the years. For example, I asked Mike to perform the service for my Dad’s funeral in Aledo, TX last September and I was able to visit with he and his family for half an hour or so. Reaching out to him here seems contrary to my initial mission for GOL. Or lazy. The truth is I had two agenda items on this call other than two friends catching up. The first is that Mike took the path that I always thought as a younger man I was called to take. Hearing about his life always provides a foil to mine, of sorts. The call gave me a chance to ask and hear about his career more, which I enjoyed. The second is that I am unable to understand how 79% of Evangelical Christians voted Trump. I had hoped Mike would be able to provide me insight. The good news for many of you is that Mike deftly gave me the red cape and “ole!” on the topic of politics.
- Another of the topics I’d hoped to explore with Mike was homeschooling. Mike’s kids are homeschooled part-time. We didn’t get deep on that, though he acknowledged that having Christian teachers was a plus. He and Kelly have their reasons. Here I am grilling him on a somewhat controversial national conversations and he’s a “public figure”…Great friend I am! Sounds like that, with Thursdays as his day off, it serves his family well.
- I had forgotten that Mike left for college the summer after graduating for DHS, only to quickly return home. The story is a good one. He threw himself into classes at San Jac, working at Sears, and working with Jeff Humphrey in the ministry at First Baptist Church of Dickinson. It’s in his work within that church youth group that he found his calling. Mike’s been working in youth ministry ever since, spending 17 years as the youth pastor in Dickinson, then moving to a Baptist church in Garland, TX.
- I have spent precious little time in Dickinson since HS; it hasn’t felt like home to me in a long, long time. Mike lived there for two years after HS, then returned and worked in that community for 17+ years. He said twice that though the buildings and roads were the same when he returned, he felt like he was in a foreign place. He attributes that to his classmates largely going their separate ways. He also discusses Dickinson’s growth from a village to a city, which was transformative. Still, it’s curious to think that someone that never went home and someone who lived in Dickinson another 17 years could have the same feeling. My upcoming interview with Eric Orrill will reveal the same type of feelings. Speaks to the rate of change and development in the area. May also say something about the alienating nature of adulthood. Note: looking for volunteers to explain the before / after and impact of Hurricane Ike on that area.
- For those who know Mike, I’d classify it as near miracle that he ever left Dickinson. I’ve never met a bigger homebody. He acknowledges as much in the audio portion. If someone would have told me that Mike would move even an hour from his parents, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. Fun to hear him talk about his trips to Germany and relationships there.
- When preparing for this call, what I was most excited talking to Mike about was the kids…are they the same as when we grew up or different? I found it refreshing to hear him say kids are the same and their needs are the same – their exposure to the adult world is just accelerated. Fascinating to hear him talk about the competitiveness in the schools in Garland. The schools are just a reflection of the communities, of course. We didn’t grow up with that. Makes you wonder how we each might have turned out in one of those environments.
- To put that thought into context, what if our high school growing up had 2400 students instead of 1200? Forget about Garland; that’s Dickinson now. Using some simple (and maybe misleading) math, you’d say that half of the starters on our football team wouldn’t have been starters. Then apply that to volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, band, student leadership, etc… How many of us fall out of those activities and have much different identities that we take with us to adulthood? To take that idea one step further, how many of us would have had shrunken social lives because the number of activities we participate in and which broadened us decreased? Who are the few among us that increased competition actually improves? Mike must be serving a lot of kids that might be thriving in a smaller, less competitive environment, but are otherwise at risk for falling through the cracks.
- Mike married his first girlfriend, Kelly, whom he met at UMHB. It’s crazy to think that Mike didn’t have a girlfriend until college…says the guy who didn’t really have a girlfriend until college. Great story, by the way, of his immediate attraction to Kelly, then his feelings of unworthiness. Glad he got over the latter and that she saw in him some of what I and others that love Mike see in him.
- If I had a time machine, I’d love to take Mike and maybe key members of his youth group back in time to meet the younger Mike Murrie. Young Mike liked to have fun and laugh, but he had a streak of chippy-ness and pride that could be easily offended. His faith transformed him from hard charger with a “your picking on me because I’m small” attitude to an “old soul” type. That happened FAST. I happen to love both Mike’s.
- I’d like to go back and look at his music collection then (Beastie Boys, Eric B & Rakim, Run DMC) along with a sampling of his closet. Mike was the first person I knew to wear Air Jordans. He was also the only person I’ve known to wear a smashing Don Johnson-esque ¾ sleeve striped jacket. I will pay $50 to anyone who turns a pictureof Mike in that outfit over to me.
- Re: his musical tastes…he also was a devotee of Elvis in high school. Like deep cuts. Mike’s also the only person I’ve ever known to bust out regularly and spontaneously with “Old Man River”. He’s yet another person who has enjoyed the explosion of contemporary Christian music in all of its forms.
- Another fascinating point on Mike…he’s only person I’ve ever really known to have a real passion for an El Camino. He also loved driving his parents football field length Cadillac. Let’s just say his vehicle tastes as a younger man didn’t match many of his peers.
- One last reminiscence of Mike that has come up on other calls. Mike played varsity football at a supermodel weight. He was tiny. We all respected him because he stayed with it. We also respected him because he was mindlessly tough and aggressive at times. I can remember freshman football where he and Bernie Smiley were the safeties on the B team. Bernie was physically a grown man, while Mike looked like he still belonged in jr. high. Mike would slam headfirst into ball carriers so hard that he would stun himself. A couple of years after we graduated and Mike had grown over six foot tall and had filled out, no one could stop him in basketball. With him, it was always about the size of the fight in the dog.
- One of the topics that comes up with people through this process is success. A lot of people that I’ve spoken or corresponded with feel like they live unremarkable lives and haven’t really achieved “success”. Several people have pointed to classmates whom they believe have accumulated material wealth in these conversations, which I get. From my perspective, success primarily comes from your relationships to other people and begins when you move beyond taking care of yourself or extensions of yourself (family). Successful people are the one’s who are able to influence other people’s lives positively and / or provide / take care of others. Teachers, coaches, and youth ministers are among the people that I think of most in my definition of success. And, in that sense, Mike is among the most successful people I know. I’m really proud of the man that he has become and what he accomplishes!
Bonus: hear Mike doing his preaching thing
Two Michaels…Michael Bennett, all world defensive end now of the Seahawks, and his former high school coach.
Another of Michael’s star pupils. Cheta Ozougwu played for Michael first at Alief Taylor and later at Rice; he was drafted by the Texans as Mr. Irrelevant- last player picked in draft.
Slater’s a visor guy now…who knew?
Holding the hardware!
A younger and older Michael with his Dickinson peeps.
Here’s the audio portion: http://www.tapeacall.com/nab2y9fja9
- My call with Michael Slater was my shortest to date, clocking in at just under thirty seven minutes. The man is busy! He’s been in Arizona for about a month. Today, he carved out some time to talk to me…while he’s buying a house.
- Michael’s been in my life since 2nd grade. He was pretty serious as an elementary school kid. Although I wouldn’t describe us as close, Michael was always around. You can hear us laughing about his powder puff flip where he landed pretty much right on his tailbone, which is pretty athletic for a guy his size.
- You can hear it on the audio…my awakening to Slater as a force in football was our sophomore year. He was invited to join the varsity at the end of the JV season. Then I watched him play in the playoff game at Rice Stadium. He more than held his own. That’s when I realized he could have been playing all year on the varsity as a sophomore, which at the time was a reliable predictor you were college scholarship material.
- The last contact I had with him was late in college. He was someone I ran across occasionally when I came home. Once he said it, I remembered that he lost his final season at Southwest Texas / Texas State to a broken leg. I also learned he was coaching high school football at the tenth high school reunion. None of that was news for me. I did learn that he taught special education.
- If you’re friends with Michael on Facebook, you know he’s coaching Division-IA football. That’s not entirely a surprise. What is kind of crazy is how he got there. I’d rather you listen to him tell the story; we talk about it throughout, but he summarizes starting around 10:00 and goes until 17:00.
- If you don’t have the time to listen, here’s the summary. Michael was up for a head coaching position. As he began the process, he felt that the school district had set him up to fail. That’s a turning point. Slater gambled on himself; he doubled down and took an offer as a graduate assistant at Rice. His income dropped from $70K per year to $900 / mo. Instead of being on top, he had to humble himself to do a job that he might have secured coming right out of college, which included buying coffee and running personal errands for Rice’s head football coach.
- That risk paid off! He was later hired as a full-time defensive line coach.
- Just as impressively, Michael was the first Rice football GA to earn his Master’s at Rice. Congratulations on that! He’s in pretty good company…We now have at least three classmates with degrees from Rice: Kyle Gupton, Marcus Nalepa, and Michael Slater. Two were jocks. Go figure!
- Michael’s defensive lines have had demonstrable success. That’s how he has moved up from Rice to Kansas to now Arizona State. Along those lines…My favorite coaching story I heard was how Rice is just…different. He coached an award winning kid who gave up football to take a $140K / year job right out of college. Instead of worrying about player agents, Rice coaches stress over corporate recruiters.
- You can tell that Michael Slater has spent his career working with the public by just listening to him. He is very well spoken. I never was able to catch him off guard. His answers were always humble and polished. You can see why Mom’s and Dad’s trust him enough to send their kids to play for him. That and he’s had success at Rice and Kansas, without the aid of four and five star recruits.
- We talked briefly about the kids today versus in our day. Slater made me laugh when he said the coaching and treatment we received in the 80’s would be considered abusive today. He used the word entitlement to describe kids today. What really stuck with me was the idea that kids expect him to explain how what they’re being asked to do will benefit them personally.
- Michael doesn’t keep in touch with a ton of classmates. He stays in contact with Kevin Benard, which kind of surprised me until Mike reminded me they were cousins. He talks to Archie. He mentioned Ramona Davis, who lives in the same area Michael does.
- What was more interesting is that, through coaching, he had maintained relationships with our HS coaches, like Farris, Loerwald, and Rudwick. He mentioned Farris coaching again in San Antonio. I bet those schools have no idea what to do with his Wing T! That brought a smile to my face.
- Michael had a strong list of recommendations of people for me to interview. Randy Truelock. Working on Mike Reid. Can someone help me track down Monica Casas? She’s been on my list from the start, but I haven’t been able to find her on Facebook. Chris Bogot was another strong recommendation. Michael Small is another that I haven’t been able to find on social media. If you can help me get in touch with any of these folks, let me know.
- If you had asked any of us in high school who would be the last man standing with a career coaching football, I don’t know that Michael would have been our first guess. At this point, he’s probably accustomed to people underestimating him. It’s a real credit to Michael’s determination, grit, and willingness to bet on himself that he’s climbed to the heights in the profession that he has! Nice work, Michael…we’re all proud of you!
Love this picture!
This crew could even make line dancing look cool…
These pictures always make me smile…
This was just a funny picture on FB. Definitely not a match for the Katy Perry song,..
Michelle in Egypt. If there’s a picture of you on a camel, I’m going to post it.
My favorite family photo!
Freshman year cheer!
Here’s the audio.
1. From the outside looking in, Michelle Hathway Martin has done more work to keep DHS class of ’89 connected than anyone else. She’s very involved in organizing reunions, Facebook pages dedicated to our class, posting both new and old pictures of classmates, etc… I have no idea what kudos others have given her, but it’s probably not enough. I’d also like to personally thank her for being the thread that binds!
2. As you’ll hear on the audio, she’s also personally responsible for me paying attention to FB. Any nastygrams re: the role she played in me filling your FB pages with my political posts, please direct to me. Michelle didn’t do it purposely.
3. I asked why she was so dedicated to keeping our class connected and she gave me an unexpected answer. The senior class sponsor (Ron Proctor?) impresses upon you that the responsibility for post-graduation activities like reunions fall to you if you happen to be a class officer your senior year. She took that responsibility seriously and we have all benefitted!
4. I played “who were you then, who are you now?” It’s worth listening to her answer.
5. When I asked Michelle to join me on my blog, her first response was to tell me that she hasn’t lived that interesting of a life. That’s an almost universal response when I first reach out. Michelle then proceeded to tell me and later send me pictures of her trip to Egypt in 2003. Not boring!
6. She also spent time in Germany and made three trips to Italy, but I’m kind of fixated on the picture of her riding a camel in the desert!
7. Some of her comments about Egypt were interesting. The Sphinx isn’t as big as you think. The motorists don’t seem to ,be following any traffic laws. The pyramids aren’t isolated out in the desert. In fact, there’s a KFC right there by them!
8. We talked about the terrorist threat of travelling internationally. Takes some courage to travel to Egypt, especially when there had already been attacks against tourists. Michelle stayed in Sharm el Sheikh. Shortly after she departed, a bomb was set off in the market near where she’d stayed. Impressive she’s continued to travel internationally, in spite of that experience.
9. Michelle now lives in Pearland. She has divided her time between the Houston and Dallas (Denton) area since graduation. Her perspective on traffic is that, though Dallas has the worse reputation, Houston’s traffic is worse.
10. I asked her which city she preferred. She misses some aspects of Dallas, but the beaches of Galveston are a big plus!
11. Nice to hear and see on FB pictures of Michelle hanging out with some of the old posse – Stefanee, Jamie, Melissa, Sonja, etc… Always brings a smile to my face! A special shout out to Stefanee – sounds like you’ve been a good friend through thick & thin! More on that later…
12. When I questioned what advice she’d give the younger Michelle, she said two things: 1) don’t be bullied; and 2) be yourself, not what everyone else wants you to be.
13. #2 was self-explanatory and something that you hear popular people say. I nearly dropped the phone on #1.
14. Never would have guessed that. She was a cheerleader, class officer, and homecoming queen, among other things. Discussion about who was the most beautiful or best liked in high school is both tired and speculative, but we can all agree that Michelle would be a part of that conversation if there was one. Michelle was bullied? I winced, but, of course, couldn’t leave it alone.
15. Let’s start back in junior high. Michelle and her family lived in League City but attended Pine Drive Baptist Church. They moved to Dickinson. All I can remember is how everybody seemed to like the “new girl”. Apparently, that wasn’t universal. She had horse manure dumped in her locker. She was physically threatened about getting off the school bus. That, in itself, was shocking. Then Michelle told how a classmate had written a sexually charged letter addressed to her male 8th grade English teacher, then signed her name. This incident landed her in the principal’s office, along with the English teacher and her parents. There was discussion about suspension until the English teacher compared handwriting samples and connected the letter to its rightful author. If that wasn’t enough, she also experienced some bullying from older girls in HS. Michelle’s experienced some trust issues since. Can’t say as I blame her…
16. I can’t help but wonder why Michelle was targeted and whether she would have been bypassed if she had gone to Dickinson schools all along. Or even if her parents had attended a church like First Baptist, where she would have entered junior high with a ton of friends. I think there were a lot of people that in HS would have like to have been Michelle Hathway. Very few of us saw how hard that could be because she always had a smile and made things look so…easy.
17. Speaking of First Baptist, most of my direct exposure to Michelle was at church. We talked about her walk for a few minutes. I liked how she explained it…when she is involved with a congregation, she feels like she’s being fed; when not, Michelle feels empty and lost. That’s about right. She attended Fellowship Church in Grapevine, then moved to Prestonwood Baptist Church. In Houston, she’s tried Sagemont Baptist Church. More recently, Michelle’s been attending Second Baptist Church in Houston. I’m pretty sure membership in some of these churches is greater than the population in my town!
18. When I think about Michelle, I think powder puff and her role coaching the drill team. We talked about the music – David Lee Roth’s “Pretty Woman”. I’ve always wondered about who picked out the teal color of the shirts; sounds like that was a Randy / Kelly gig. Great memories!
19. We talked about recognition and some of her contributions. I had forgotten that Michelle delivered the prayer at graduation and was Miss DHS.
20. Michelle was prepared when I asked to whom she’d like to see next on my blog. Michael Slater; Mona Davis; Leslie Perry Padgett (keeps coming up); U4K; Sarah Jones Jenkins; and Lisa McCroskey Yates. Solid list!
21. Michelle is single. If traffic patterns on this site hold, that likely means 100-150 men will read this and think to themselves, “so you’re saying there’s a chance?”
22. At one point, Michelle described herself to me as a glue within her group of friends. She’s not giving herself enough credit. She’s part of the glue that has been keep our class together – we appreciate you, Michelle!