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Former Sports Writer Follows Book Idea to Become Female College Football Coach At Texas Wesleyan (USA)

A trip to the allergy doctor ultimately led Marjorie Lewis down a path to becoming a college football coach. She has no coaching background and she’ll be a 60-year-old rookie this fall when Texas Wesleyan University launches its inaugural season.

As someone who covered Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys for one major publication and the Herschel Walker trade for another, she was often immersed in football. She covered countless games from press boxes for America’s team. Now she’s back in the box, but this time wearing a headset.

The story begins when Marjorie Lewis went to Italy with her daughter last year. Upon their return, Lewis went to the doctor because she thought something small she ate lodged in her throat. Turns out it was an allergic reaction, so she visited an allergy doctor.

The nurse in the office noticed Marjorie’s Tulsa University football t-shirt, and said, “Oh, another woman who knows a lot about football.”

Well, it turns out that the nurse had a great aunt, Tylene Wilson, who became the head football coach of Daniel Baker College in Brownswood, Texas, during World War II when the men were off to fight.

“What she did was awesome and I fell in love with the story,” Lewis said.

Lewis wanted to make it her mission to write the true story of Tylene Wilson, who learned the game of football from her father and took over the program when all the men left.

The problem, though, was that the schools and libraries didn’t have enough information on the situation, so Lewis went the fictitious route and cast Coach Wilson as head coach of the Brownswood High School team. She penned the book titled “When the Men Were Gone.”

While searching for an agent for her book, Lewis came across a job listing for an assistant coach position for Texas Wesleyan University, and she applied. She got the job, filling a new dream inspired by World War II Coach Tylene Wilson.

Lewis joined the team this spring and, lo and behold, broke her finger the same day the first practice began.

“I didn’t tell any of the players because I didn’t want them to think I couldn’t make it out there,” she said. Lewis, who coaches linebackers and defensive backs, made it through practice throwing balls with one finger awkwardly pointed a different direction from the others.

“After practice I was on Cloud Nine, but I rushed to the hospital as quickly as I could,” Lewis said. “The next day I came to practice with a splint on my finger and told them what happened. Some of them said they wouldn’t have made it, or that women really are tougher than men.”



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