By Will McClure
Whether it is five, ten, fifteen, twenty or many more years since graduation, Stamford Bulldog Alumni can always feel welcome when they return to their hometown for the annual Homecoming Weekend this Friday and Saturday, September 25 and 26. Alumni will be able to be treated to good food, dancing, a football game and even attend the annual Dog Days sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce which will feature food, vendors and fun for the Stamford alumni. Like many other events, Homecoming weekend brings the Stamford community together for a weekend of fun, fellowship and rekindling old friendships. However, Homecoming seems to feel even more special as Stamford welcomes lifelong Bulldogs to town for one special weekend.
At the forefront of the many activities this weekend is the Stamford Exes, headed by Tracey Bell and Darla Titus, along with the generous and hardworking help from Jerry Pingle, Sylvia Padron and Vickie Alaniz. Only being able to hold major Homecoming activities every two years, Bell and Titus have been working diligently to give Stamford High School Alumni a warm welcome over the weekend and help bring back memories. Among the planned events put on by the Stamford Exes will be a catered brisket meal with all of the trimmings, provided by Jay Hager, at 11:00 on Saturday in the High School Cafeteria. The meal program will feature two very familiar faces of Stamford High School: Former Congressman Charles Stenholm and former Bulldog coach Keith Munnerlyn, who will each give a speech to the Stamford Alumni after lunch is served.
Stenholm served in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 2005, serving 13 terms for Texas’ 17th District. He graduated from Tarleton State Junior College, now known as Tarleton State University, with an Associate of Science degree in 1959 and Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Agriculture Education in 1961 and 1962, respectively. Stenholm graduated from Stamford High School in 1957 and played for the Bulldogs during their first two back-to-back state championships in 1955 and 1956. This pedigree continued over fifty years later when Stenholm’s grandson, Chase, played for the back-to-back state champion Bulldogs in 2012 and 2013. Since 2005, Stenholm has served as a senior policy advisor for Olsson Frank Weeda law firm in Washington D.C. Stenholm and his wife, Cindy, reside in Granbury, Texas and have three children, Chris, Cary and Courtney, and four grandchildren.
Coach Keith Munnerlyn joined the Bulldog coaching staff and helped guide the Bulldogs to another state championship in 1958 and in 1959. A graduate of Ranger High School in 1949, Munnerlyn graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Hardin Simmons University before making his way to Stamford in 1958 to work with coaches Gordon Wood and Bill Anderson during the championship years. He worked as a junior high coach during his time in Stamford and taught History and Physical Education before leaving in 1966. Along with his duties as the Bulldogs’ coach, Munnerlyn also served eight years as a volunteer fireman for Stamford and became the first teacher to serve on the Stamford Fire Department. Munnelyn also spent five and a half years in the Persian Gulf as a shore production supervisor, worked three years as a corrections officer before he retired and even served four years in the Marines. Munnerlyn is the last remaining coach during that Bulldog era and is excited to return to speak to the Stamford Alumni. Munnerlyn was originally supposed to come speak two years ago, but was unable to. However, he was able to send a letter on his reflections and thoughts on Stamford High School, which Bell said brought tears of joy from the alumni. Munnerlyn was married to his wife, Joan, for 58 years before she passed away in 2013. He has three children, Donna, Mike and Vicky, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Among the many activities planned, Stamford Alumni are encouraged to arrive at the lunch bringing or wearing their Letter jacket, cheerleading uniform, pompoms or any other memorabilia that they would like to bring and share with their fellow alumni. Bell said that this was asked because “it would be fun to share in the nostalgia and maybe bring back memories and stories of [the alumni’s] time at Stamford.” Door prizes will be given away during the luncheon as well. The meal will also feature a special commemorative wreath that will honor those Bulldog Alumni that are no longer with us and will serve as a memory for them during Homecoming weekend. After the meal and speeches, Bell said that the Stamford Exes will have a special presentation at the end of the luncheon. Details are being withheld at this time, but it is assured that the presentation is something that should not be missed.
The festivities do not end at the luncheon, however, as there will be a dance at the Roundup Hall from 8-12 with music by the Dance Hall Drifters. During the dance, a drawing will be held for the 12 Gauge Mossberg shotgun and $300 Visa gift card. Tickets can still be purchased for $5 each or 5 for $20 from Darla Titus at (325) 280-0269 or Tracy Bell at (325) 338-0346. Tracy Bell and Darla Titus are also available to answer any questions about the weekend’s activities.
Homecoming weekend only comes once every two years, and it is a time for Stamford Bulldog Alumni to return home to share memories and even participate in the many events that are offered during that time. Whether it is cheering on the 2015 Bulldogs in their game against Hamlin or even reflecting on the memories shared by Charles Stenholm and Coach Keith Munnerlyn, Homecoming 2015 is shaping up to be a weekend with memories that will last forever.