Longtime Fort Worth Nolan Catholic coach Joe Prud’homme was introduced Thursday as head football coach at Texas Wesleyan.
Prud’homme led the Vikings to seven TAPPS state championships and two other appearances in the finals. His teams reached the playoffs 14 times.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this, it’s an incredible time in Texas Wesleyan history,” Prud’homme said. “There’s truly something special about this place and the Texas Wesleyan community, but also in Texas and Fort Worth.”
Recruiting starts now. This is an opportunity to write history and build something special.
Texas Wesleyan coach Joe Prud’homme
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Wesleyan will begin play in 2017 with a goal of 75 players.
The Rams will compete in the NAIA’s Central States Football League, an amalgam of schools from the Red River Athletic Conference and the Sooner Athletic Conference: Arizona Christian in Phoenix, Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla., Langston University in Langston, Okla., Lyon College in Batesville, Ark., Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie, Texas College in Tyler and Wayland Baptist in Plainview. Wesleyan plays its other sports in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
“We’ve been 100 percent committed to finding the coach that’s perfect for Texas Wesleyan University. A coach that understands our vision for the football program here,” athletic director Steve Trachier said.
Prud’homme spent 24 years at Nolan Catholic, and 27 overall as a high school head coach.
“We’re going to build a team that wins the right way,” Prud’homme said. “When you are part of something special, it sticks with you forever.”
Texas Wesleyan’s football program began in 1934 (it had previously competed from 1902-1914 as Polytechnic College). Its last game was in 1941.
As for recruiting, Prud’homme begins his duties Monday and will have nearly 15 months to fill a team. He will recruit nationwide but start in North Texas.
“The football in this area and North Texas is so outstanding. You look across and there’s kids lining up and playing for all these Division I [schools],” Prud’homme said.
He also didn’t rule out tryouts for walk-ons.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few good surprises. I anticipate it,” Prud’homme said.
The school, which suspended its football program in 1941 because of World War II, announced the program’s return on Feb. 10.
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“There’s just something about football that unites a community in a very special way. We’ve had interest in the head coach position from all over the country,” President Fred Slabach said. “What we’ve been looking for is a coach who believes in our athletic tradition of putting the student in student-athlete first and also a coach with a proven record of developing a winning tradition, not only winning games but creating a championship program at Texas Wesleyan that all of Fort Worth can be proud of.”
Wesleyan is also adding women’s lacrosse, which will bring the number of sports at the east Fort Worth school to 13.