Letter from Nick Nicholson

The following is a letter from Nick Nicholson about a book he is writing about Gene “Coach” Thrailkill. He is still in the process of gathering letters/anecdotes so it is NOT TOO LATE to send yours to him. Please send it to PrideAlumBook@gmail.com ASAP! (See the new link in the left margin of this website?)

Dear Pride Alum,

I am writing Coach’s biography. The first half of the book will be the typical biographical story and materials. The second half of the book will feature letters and stories from former students. Ideally, I would like to receive a letter from you that is a “Dear Coach” letter. Something that is a letter from you to him that outlines what he has meant to you. Some people are writing about a single incident (the time you took me for my emergency appendectomy) and others are focusing on how he was a father figure away from home. Either way, most of the letters are unbelievably heartfelt and very personal. The letters I have received thus far will definitely make him feel appreciated and will bring him to tears. EXACTLY what we need!

It isn’t just letters to Coach that I need. I am also in dire need of funny stories and/or real Pride events that took place. For instance, I would love to have some people submit stories on the Ice Bowl. I have nothing from the 1981 trip to USC that was so incredibly hard to believe, but have heard so much about. How about the 1983 game against OSU…didn’t Coach get kicked out of that game? What happened?? Did Barry Switzer really drive out to a Pride practice and present Coach with a game ball? What was it like playing Miami for the national championship in Miami and did Coach have anything interesting to say about it? What was Coach’s reaction to the kid that dressed as the pregnant nun in that halloween show so many years ago? How about the tuba player with the bell cover that suggested we “Take Cuba” ?? I am sure Coach had something interesting to say about that.

The point is that we all have stories about Coach that people would love to hear – namely, he and his family. Frankly, it doesn’t matter how many people sit down and write about that horrendous trip to USC in 1981 —all that matters is that you do it. Don’t assume that someone else will tell the story, because they most likely will not. I will take anything and everything I can get and will work to create the best possible book for Coach, his family and all of his former students. Your submissions are critical to this effort! We have very few contributions from Pride members from the 70’s and early to mid eighties. (I believe letters from these eras are up to a total of six.)

Something else we need you to do is spread the word to the alumni you keep in touch with. The publisher won’t touch the book unless we have 1000 entries. Right now, I’m at about 150, with the vast majority of those coming from his teaching days at Ohio University and Dixie High School. The non OU letters are coming in at a ratio of 10 to one, which is sickening, seeing how he spent 75% of his teaching time at OU.

I am also accepting photos (that include Coach) – they must be high resolution. Also, am needing funny stories such as “remember the time coach did or said….” sort of thing.

I would say we need to set a deadline on these of December 31st, 2011, however the sooner I can get them, the better. Please don’t wait!

Everything should be sent to PrideAlumBook@gmail.com.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.