Pastor Cico just wants you to call him Warren

BILL MARTIN BILL MARTIN The first thing he wants everyone to know is that he doesn’t normally wear a beard.

His church is having a “living last supper” and he is playing one of the disciples.

Also, despite the fact that he is a pastor, he still wants you to call him Warren.

When I met up with him on a recent trip to Humble, I automatically called him coach as we hugged, just as I did almost 40 years ago.

“It’s been a long time since someone has called me coach. Please, call me Warren.”

Sorry coach, can’t do it. Be too awkward.

Warren Cico was one of those people who came and went in our lives too quickly and we always wondered what became of him.

As the reporter of the group, it was up to me to find him. To see the results of my investigation, please read the story on this page.

He of course has fond memories of Rockdale.

Picking tomatoes with Tiger Jackie Thompson at his uncle’s place near Cameron and then they would go door-to-door and sell them.

You have to realize that back then, most teachers were earning four-figure salaries, so most of them had part-time jobs and had to seek employment during the summer.

He worked at the U-Tote-Em (which is now Sunny’s), worked at the swimming pool for Coach Lew Simmonds and he hauled hay with another one of his players, Doyle Moore.

At U-Tote-Em, he would go scout games on Friday nights, then work the 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift, then be up at the field house Saturday morning, grading the film from the previous night’s game.

“One summer I had four or five different jobs,” he remembered.

He was part of the original odd couple, rooming with head basketball coach Gerald Adams in a house right across the street from the football field.

Track was and is his favorite sport and he was heavily involved in the Junior Olympic program in the summer and was vital in Rockdale taking the state track title in 1977.

He remembers taking Kerry Locklin and Sammy Ray Branch to a summer track meet in Borger in 1975. When he took them to eat at a local restaurant, after a long wait, he was told that he was welcome to stay and eat, but Locklin and Branch had to go.

“Probably not the first time for them, but it was for me.”

“The thing I remember the most is working with Tom Drake,” he said. “Rockdale didn’t have a history of distance runners, so Tom had moved in and as you know, everybody that was in athletics had to run track.

“He said ‘I’ve just been a swimmer.’ I told him, ‘well now you’re going to be a distance runner.’ He turned out to be a great miler.”

In 1975, Drake broke the school record in the mile that had stood for nearly 40 years.

His most vivid memories of the 1976 state championship football season are when quarterback Kerry Locklin and star lineman Mario Garza were both hurt in the same game.

“It looked like our season was over,” he said. “Then we play Rosebud-Lott and we’re behind and they announced that Elgin had tied and we had 90 yards to go.”

“That’s what I remember the most. Their whole season had ended and how those kids responded. They had the confidence to not give up.”

And the championship experience.

“When we walked into Texas Stadium and saw the players names on the lockers, that was a big thing. Just a thrill. I’m just glad that I got to be a part of it. I know how special it is.”

So take a gander at Warren Cico’s story on this page— Coach and Pastor.

If you knew him back in the day, you’ll know more. If you didn’t, here’s your chance to be introduced to him for the first time.

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