Todd Dodge details what his role is in search for next Port Neches-Groves coach/AD

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Todd Dodge was clear about his role in the current search for the next athletic director and head football coach at Port Neches-Groves High School.

“I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, hiring the head coach,” Dodge told Port Arthur Newsmedia Wednesday afternoon. “I am just going to be there to answer any questions of the superintendent, deputy superintendent or the selection committee.

“I love Port Arthur. I love Southeast Texas. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for the PNG job. I think it is a great job. They asked me to help, and it’s what I plan on doing.”

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The Port Arthur native and legendary high school championship-winning coach said the bulk of his work would take place in the next four or five days.

He stressed he is not moving to Port Neches or getting an office, but simply serving as a consultant.

School Board President Scott Bartlett said more than 30 candidates have applied for the open position as of the weekend.

According to Bartlett, Dodge will stay on after the new hire and act as mentor for the coach if needed.

Dodge won seven state titles (four 5A titles and three 6A titles) as a head coach. He is set to retire from Westlake High School at the end of the month. During his time there, Dodge won three consecutive state championships.

Dodge starred at Thomas Jefferson in Port Arthur under coach Ronnie Thompson. He set the state record for most passing yards in a season as a senior in 1980 with 3,135 yards. It was the first time in Texas high school football history a quarterback threw for more than 3,000 yards.
He led the Yellow Jackets to the 1980 Class 5A state championship game against Odessa Permian. Permian won the title, 28-19.
Dodge said PNG reached out to him and asked if he would mind being a consultant during the process.

The application process for the PNG position is open through Thursday.

“I told the superintendent I would absolutely be a phone call away and help in anyway I can with the first couple of months of the new coach’s process,” he said.

“I won’t be coming to Port Neches and overseeing the program or anything like that. That is not what that is about.”

Dodge feels a successful coach is one who develops “tremendous relationships” with his players, while also hiring and retaining a strong assistant coaching staff.

“Then, you build a culture in a group of young men where you can have players day in and day out stepping into the field house with an attitude of ‘what can I do for someone else,’ rather then ‘what can someone else do for me,’” Dodge said.

“There is going to be talent coming through Port Neches-Groves. There is going to be talent developed in Port Neches-Groves, just like there has always been. Someone may get the job who has a great handle on what the tradition of PNG is. You better be a historian of Port Neches-Groves football and athletics in general to make sure you put your stamp on things while keeping all the traditions alive that are important to the people of Port Neches-Groves.”