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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Bixby Spartan Football Program Rolls Out Initiative


Since Loren Montgomery took over as Bixby High’s head football coach in 2010, he has emphasized character and integrity within the Spartan program. He established the Spartan Code which reads, “Bixby Spartan football will be respected as the very best program in 6A at developing young men.” DISC – initials for discipline, integrity, selfless and consistent – remain the program’s core values.

Because of recent negative perception of the program, Coach Montgomery, his staff and Spartan players are doubling their commitment of stressing the program’s core values. “Since I started in 2010, our mission statement has been the same and that’s not going to change. This off-season we sat down and looked at how we were doing things just like we look at our offense or defense,” Montgomery says. “We talked about character education and leadership training…We looked at how we could get better. We looked at what we could do to support the players in all of the tough decisions and things they are faced with these days. It’s different than it was when I grew up.”

With that as the background, the coaches decided to implement a new program: #Team21. “We came up with the #Team 21 concept because we have these kids three hours a day, which leaves 21 other hours in the day. We’re focusing on those 21 hours,” Montgomery notes. “We’ve adjusted a few of our core values. We still have discipline and integrity, but we replaced sacrifice with selfless. The last is consistent. We believe that the kids in our program who are consistent in doing what we tell them to do with a good attitude will be successful.”

The coaching staff also tweaked the leadership council to make it more impactful. The leadership program is a tool to help the players understand the need to be accountable and become school leaders. “Last year, we had 75 or 80 kids participate in the program, but with a large group we felt we couldn’t have as strong of an impact on our key influencers in our leadership council,” says Montgomery.

“Each position coach has identified a player in their group as a leader. We have a special teams captain and we’ll have representatives from each grade, including the seventh and eighth graders coming up.”

Montgomery and the assistants have planned and executed several community service activities for the Spartans. Players are involved in visiting St. Francis Children’s Hospital, the Special Olympics penny drive, volunteering with the Bixby Outreach on a weekly basis, volunteering at the Oklahoma Food Bank project, weekly reading groups at Bixby North Elementary, helping install equipment at Bixby Northeast Elementary’s science lab project and helping with holiday cleanup at Bixby Central Elementary.

In addition, several players recently carried out groceries and helped with other activities at Doc’s Country Mart. Spartan players are involved in weekly clean-up efforts around Bixby High School and will volunteer to help set up for the regional Special Olympics and State Special Olympics event in Stillwater. The players have been involved in additional service-oriented activities while the coaches are looking for other volunteer opportunities.

“The reason we went to Doc’s was because we want everybody to see that we have great kids, great kids that are involved in the community. And we wanted to teach our kids to be selfless,” emphasizes Montgomery.

“The big goal is to teach these guys how to respect one another, respect their teammates and everyone they meet, and to also let our community know that we want their support and want them behind us because it takes everyone in our community to help them become successful.”

Bixby football also began working with former Tulsa University linebacker Shawn Jackson, who works with the Domestic Violence Center locally and leads a program called Coaching Boys into Men. “We were looking for opportunities to volunteer at the Domestic Violence Center and when I looked at their website I saw they had a program called Coaching Boys into Men … their biggest theme is respect for women,” Montgomery notes.

“We recently began our partnership with Shawn Jackson. He comes on Tuesdays and teaches a short 15-minute lesson. “Our student athletes have been very engaged in Shawn’s presentation and their feedback has been great. We are very grateful that Shawn has taken the time to invest in our students and helping us coach our boys into men.”

Montgomery and his staff realize football is a valuable tool for teaching young players life lessons, like teamwork and overcoming adversity. They will continue emphasizing these traits moving forward.

“We know there has been negative publicity, but we want to be forward thinking,” Montgomery adds. “We don’t want our kids to think they’re bad kids because they are not. They are really great kids. This is all about turning the page…We want Bixby football moving forward.”

Moving forward with an attitude that everyone involved in Bixby Spartan football is focused on developing dedicated, selfless and respectful young men.

Updated 04-30-2018

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