By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – For five years Finis Vanover poured everything he had into building the Tomball Memorial football program from the ground up.
Now the program will be under new guidance as Vanover has decided to retire from Tomball Memorial, effective at the end of February.
“In this profession there’s just times and places for everything as is in all of life,” Vanover said in a phone interview. “My wife and I just felt like this was the perfect time to do this. Was it tough, yeah you bet it was. We’ve poured every ounce of everything we have into this thing.”
In those five seasons, Vanover led the Wildcats to a 22-29 overall record and a pair of six-win seasons and one playoff appearance.
This past season, the varsity went 6-4, junior varsity went 9-1 and sophomore team went 8-2.
“This is a good time,” Vanover said. “It’s in great shape, it’s in great hands. We have 18 starters coming back. It’s a good time to make that move.”
Vanover, 62, took his first head coaching job in 1980 leading Hardin-Jefferson. Following a three-year stint there, Vanover made stops at Beaumont French, FW Paschal, Seminole, Diboll, Angleton and finally Tomball Memorial.
Over his 32 years as a head coach, Vanover recorded a mark of 159-166.
“It has meant everything,” “It has completely and totally been my life. It’s been my family’s life. We ate, slept and breathed it. We’ve gone through basically four decades of the sport and the lifestyle. Of the highs and lows, the accomplishments and the failures, the success and the championships.
“To use a corny phrase it’s been a wonderful life, it really has.”
Even though Vanover is walking away from Tomball Memorial, the veteran coach did not rule out coaching again.
“It’s been a great deal, it’s been a tremendously fun ride,” “Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. If somebody came up to me in the next two months and said hey coach we want you to do this for us again, we’d have to strongly consider it. Because once it’s in your blood it’s in your blood. As long as you’re in great physical shape and good sound mind and enjoy the heck out of it, which we do, as long as you’re that way you’re good to go.”
If he does not end up coaching again, Vanover said he is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren, traveling to see his daughter coach collegiate softball and more of what “normal folks get to do”.
“I’ve probably seen (my grandson) more now in the last three weeks since June and every time is special,” he said. “The other grandson is 8 and is up in Lufkin and he will come down and stay with us and he’s doing little league and those are great fun things. Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do but when you do something as long as you’ve done it’s hard to cut it and walk away.”