Doug Ethridge, 1975 state championship coach at PNG, dies at 89
Published 10:00 pm Friday, December 25, 2020
Doug Ethridge, whose Port Neches-Groves football teams mounted a four-year state semifinal run resulting in a state championship and runner-up finish in the 1970s, has died.
PNG’s athletic website announced Ethridge’s passing Christmas night. According to the article, Ethridge was 89.
Daughter Sherolyn Ethridge Schneider and daughter-in-law Phyllis Brockschmidt Ethridge confirmed the death on social media.
“Our dad, Doug Ethridge, is rejoicing in Heaven,” Schneider posted. “Thanks for all the prayers[.] Dad is no longer in pain. We will miss him and we love him so much but knowing where he is and that we will see him again gives us comfort.”
Ethridge’s 1975 PNG team, ranked the No. 3 high school team in the nation according to PNGIndians.com, won the school’s third state championship overall and first in 20 seasons with a 20-10 win over Odessa Permian in Class 4A. That was during the second year of a four-year playoff string that became known as “Astrodomination” because the Indians played a number of their postseason games at the Houston Astrodome and set state attendance records for high school games. PNG also won 25 games in a row during the era.
Barbara Comeaux, who won three volleyball state championships in a 47-year coaching stint at PNG, said she “was at the highest of my career” during the time Ethridge helmed the football team. PNG won volleyball championships in 1972, 1979 and 1981.
“He was really a great coach and he did a lot in the Southeast Texas and Texas High School Coaches Associations,” Comeaux said. “He was very supportive of our programs all those years. We didn’t have soccer, cross country or softball. It wasn’t as complex as it is now. We didn’t start a girls basketball program until 1978-79. I remember him [as athletic director] telling me, you’re going to have to be the freshman coach. I did that for one year. We’ve come a long way as far as activities for the girls.”
The 1974 and 1976 Indians had their seasons end in the semifinal round. The 1977 team made the 4A championship game, but lost 13-10 to Plano in front of a single-game state record of 49,953 at the old Texas Stadium in Irving.
Current PNG head coach Brandon Faircloth tweeted: “Coach Ethridge set the standard that we work hard every day to uphold. He will truly be missed. Once an Indian, always an Indian.”
Ethridge spent 25 seasons as a head coach (1960-84) and won state championships at Hobbs, New Mexico, in 1970 and at PNG five years later. Following his time in Hobbs, Ethridge became head coach at Port Arthur Jefferson in 1972, going 7-3 that season, and spent the next 11 seasons at PNG, where he amassed an 88-38-2 record, according to the Texas High School Football History website. Ethridge went to Round Rock for the 1984 season, posting a 2-8 mark to cap his career record at 200-83-12.
Ethridge also was head coach at Dalhart and Monahans in the 1960s.
Ethridge was inducted into the PNG Football Hall of Honor, Texas Coaches Hall of Honor and Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.