Former Tiger great Spano trench leader for Lake Travis

Football experts will tell you that games are won and lost in the trenches.

Kyle Spano has spent his entire coaching life living and dying on the line of scrimmage, trying to perpetuate that theory.

The former Rockdale great just celebrated an unprecedented fifth straight state championship with the Lake Travis Cavaliers and he has been an important cog for four of them.

Spano (RHS ‘81) was a firstteam All-State offensive guard for the Tigers in 1980 and was chosen to play in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star game, only one of five Tigers in history to participate in the prestigious game.

He was a two-time, two-way, first-team, all-district selection at guard and linebacker. He also collected All-Centex and All-Brazos Valley accolades.

The 6-foot, 210-pound Spano was a senior on Fred Johnson’s final team at Rockdale and signed on to play at Blinn.

Spano Spano “You could never find a coach more dedicated than Kyle, both to his coaching ,and doing the right thing,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how much longer he will coach, but whatever he does should find him successful, because he’s a winner.”

The Tigers sported an 8-2 record that season, but stayed home because back in the day, just one team went to the playoffs.

They were upset by Caldwell 20-14 in the last week of the season.

That All-State season was in jeopardy after Spano tore foot ligaments in a pre-season scrimmage.

He made a hasty recovery, missing just the season opener and returning in time to play against rival Taylor.

That 1980 squad is one of the few to have beaten Taylor and Cameron in the same season.

During that one game on the sideline, Spano almost instinctively grabbed a headset and clipboard.

“Rockdale was a great place for my family,” Spano said. “We had a great run at Rockdale, I enjoyed my years there.

“There were some great men there who touched a lot of lives.”

Spano actually interviewed for the head coaching job here nine years ago, but Robby Clark was hired instead.

Spano, 48, is in his fourthseason as the offensive line coach at Lake Travis and his 21st year as a high school football coach.

He has been a part of the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 state championship teams

“This is a great place,” he said. “The whole process is fantastic to raise your kids and get an education. The teachers do a great job in the classroom creating a marvelous learning environment.

“And, it’s not just athletics, the student body is fantastic and the administrative and community support. It’s exciting.”

The Lake Travis varsity has a staff made up of 13 coaches— just for the varsity. They even have a kicking coach.

It was almost pre-ordained that Spano become a football coach—he’s surrounded by them.

His father Charles was a coach, including a stint as Rockdale’s defensive coordinator. His brother-in-law Johnny Ringo is the head coach at Plano East and the president of the Texas High School Coaches Association.

Before coming to Lake Travis, Spano coached the offensive line at another high school power Stephenville (2004- 2007) where the Yellowjackets compiled a record of 43-6. He followed Stephenville head coach Chad Morris to Lake Travis in the spring of 2008.

Morris is now the offensive coordinator at Clemson where he is the highest paid assistant in college football, making well over $1 million a year.

“All those O-lines have been great,” Spano said. “I have been very blessed and it’s a lot of work too. We’re in the kid teaching business. I feel like I have done a good job, but I have always had good kids, who buy into what you are teaching them.

“That doesn’t happen overnight. You have a common goal.”

Prior to Stephenville he coached at Fort Bend Kempner (9 years) and was head track coach at Humble Kingwood.

His first stop was at Brazos High School after serving as a graduate assistant and graduating from Eastern Kentucky.

He worked there with another graduate assistant named Rex Ryan, who is now the head coach of the New York Jets.

You want consistency? The combined record of the past eight teams Spano has been involved with is 1o7-6. Since Spano has joined the program, Lake Travis has won 64 straight.

Kyle and his wife Kim have four children: Kasey (27), Kody (23), Kylie (22), Koy (14) and one grand child Tatum (7).

(What kind of a person names all their kids with the same first letter in each name?)

Spano’s son Kody was a starting quarterback for Nebraska before two separate knee injuries and shoulder problems forced him to end his college career as a junior.

At Stephenville, Spano threw for more than 5,000 yards and accounted for 75 total touchdowns.

“We got him in a situation where he could develope the talents God blessed him with,” Spano said.

His 5-foot-10, 225-pound 14-year old son Koy is already drawing attention as a standout— you guessed it—lineman.

Spano is content to stay where he’s at, but if the right situation arose where he could lead the right program, he would listen.

He once accepted the head coaching job at Refugio, but changed his mind before actually taking the job.

He also has aspirations of getting back in the college game.

““I’m not going to take take a head job just to say that I’m a head coach. Right now, I have the best job in the world.”

The 5ive

Here are five offensive lineman who have been named first-team all-state at Rockdale:

1. Le’Raven Clark (2010)

2. Greg Gerthe (1993)

3. Kyle Spano (1980)

4. Leigh Shepard (1977)

5. Mario Garza (1976)


Jessica Gaines (RHS ‘05)—
Rockdale (assistant)
Donald Hatcher (RHS ‘99)—DeSoto
Andre Johnson (RHS ‘01)—Lockhart (assistant)
Larry Jackson (RHS ‘90)—University of Houston (head trainer)
Kerry Locklin (RHS ‘78)—Florida
Danny Randall (RHS ‘76)—Magnolia (head basketball)
Kyle Spano (RHS ‘80)—Lake Travis
Brian Stork— Cameron (head girls
Dexter Wesley (RHS ‘90)—Aldine
Eisenhower (assistant)
Theresa White (RHS ‘78)—Deer
Park (head basketball)
Wanda White (RHS ‘81)— Cameron
P.J. Williams (RHS ‘95)—Holland
(head baseball coach)

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