By Kathi Bliss
Several Lockhart Lions got a taste of professional football on Saturday when Lockhart native and former Dallas Cowboy Curtis Clay hosted a one-day “receiver and quarterback camp” at the Lockhart High School practice field.
This first-of-its-kind camp coupled Clay’s experience and reputation with high-level coaching from Texas State University and Texas Christian University with the intention to encourage the Lions – as well as visitors from Pflugerville and Elgin – to step up their game in preparation for the upcoming football season.
Clay, who earned his Masters in Education Administration from TCU in May, accepted a position as an elementary school teacher in Ft. Worth, but continues focus his aspirations equally on sport and education.
“I definitely feel like I’ve found my calling in education and coaching,” he said. “I love working with the youngsters, but I’m looking forward to moving up in grade level so I can do more coaching. I feel I could help more kids using the sports platform.”
In the meantime, Clay has chosen to exercise his coaching skills in the camp setting, introducing the day-long camp this year; he intends to grow the program into an annual event.
This year, 22 high school players attended, many of whom received sponsored scholarships to attend. In the future, Clay hopes to build on those sponsorships, eventually gaining the support to host the camp free of charge to participants. As he does in nearly every aspect of his life, Clay believes that working hard to give back is the right thing – the only thing – to do.
“We had a great first camp,” he said. “I was very pleased with how hard the guys worked and fought through the heat. Everyone came out with a great attitude and left a better player, in my opinion. We got a lot of work done, the campers were going all out, and we had a great time.”
Clay, a 2006 graduate of Lockhart High School, earned All-American honors during his time as a TCU Horned Frog, and was signed to the Dallas Cowboys in August 2011. Though he was released during the pre-season, Clay made an impression on the Cowboys organization, but an even bigger impression here in his hometown. His message is one that is strong and simple:
It doesn’t matter where you came from. If you want it, and you work hard for it, you can make your dreams come true.