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You don’t see Tom Hood in Crete often these days.  He told me he has coffee once a week with a bunch of his former Doane College (University) colleagues.  I hear representatives from past science and math departments can be found in this gathering.  I think it’s a fact that a former Doane president and an Academic Dean will make appearances, too.

         Tom is as comfortable in this group as he would be with a room full of farmers or a room full of football coaches.  He could lead a group of basketball officials or track meet starters.  Exercise professors would not intimidate Tom.  Tom Hood has worn many hats and excelled in them all.

         Tom and his wife Connie live on an acreage somewhere near Hallam.  His grandsons were sport stars at Norris High School.  One played baseball at Nebraska during his college day and another is just beginning that same journey.

         Chelsea, Tom’s daughter, played basketball for me at Doane.  I taught with Connie when I coached at Wilber-Clatonia.  I have known the Hood family for a long time.

         Tom officiated high school basketball for many years.  I loved having him work my games.  I knew he wouldn’t call many fouls and never a technical foul.  I was an assistant at Milford with Tom working the game. Milford’s coach, Bob Bargen, tried to make a point to Tom. 

         Bob walked on the floor during a time-out to show Tom the foul disparity between Milford and their opponent.  Bargen was very adamant.  Tom remained very calm, admiring Bob’s white patent leather shoes.  When Bob finished, Tom told the coach how to fill those shoes with a certain type of body liquid.  It’s one of the few times Bob Bargen has been speechless.

         There are too many Tom Hood officiating stories for one blog.  I even would ask him to do exhibition games for me at Northwest Missouri State.  After the game, we would meet Scott Bostwick, the defensive coordinator for the Northwest football team.  Scott had been the defensive coordinator at Nebraska Wesleyan and went head-to-head with Tom.  You could really find great stories at those meetings.

         Scott Bostwick and Tom Hood were both great defensive coordinators.  Tom spent 24 years as the Doane football’s defensive coordinator.  He was almost the head coach.  In 1984, Doane hired me as the women’s basketball coach.  Tom stopped shortly after I had accepted the job.  Tom told me he had been offered the head football coaching job.  He had the weekend to decide.  When Monday came, Fran Schwenk was named the new coach.

         Hood was the defensive coordinator for four different coaches.  One thing that stood out was Tom’s wardrobe.  You never saw Tom in a coaching shirt or jacket.  He often had jeans speckled from a recent painting job, a plaid shirt and boots that had been worn recently in his sheep lot.  The defensive captain never had trouble finding Tom on the sidelines.

         So good was Tom’s coaching that he was named to the Doane Athletic Hall of Fame.  To my knowledge, he is the only assistant coach found in Doane’s Hall of Fame.

         Don’t judge Tom’s teaching by his wardrobe, either.  He taught a full load in the physical education department.  He didn’t teach simple activity classes.  It was Anatomy and Kinesiology among others.

         Doane’s new president credited Tom for pointing him in the right academic directions.  Dr. Roger Hughes told the media shortly after becoming Doane’s president  that he would have never gotten into graduate school without a call from Tom.

         Tom had gotten Dr. Hughes into the exercise lab for graduate work at the University of Nebraska.  He also took the young Roger Hughes to officiating jobs at area high schools in the 1980’s.  I even had the pair at Wilber-Clatonia.

         I should stop by that coffee group soon.  I’ll bet Tom is still giving out words of wisdom on one of those many subjects.  He’s an expect at many.

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