David Petty knew at an eighth grade career fair that he wanted to be a teacher and coach. He pursued and attained that goal.
More than 20 years after graduating from Southeastern, he coaches baseball and teaches history at a high school in the heart of America’s fourth largest city.
On top of it all, the Durant native has been named district coach of the year for 2012 - his third such honor in 10 years at Reagan High School in Houston, Texas. He gives credit to his players – nine All-District this past spring – for buying into his system of “hard work and discipline.”
“It’s just consistency,” he said. “We take our hats off to go into restaurants. I teach them to be good, young gentlemen.”
Petty moved to Durant with his parents Ron and Betty Petty when he was eight years old. His father was a state trooper for 30 years, and has been on the staff at Fort Washita for the last ten. His brother Jesse is a canine officer with Durant Police Department.
“I remember in junior high, we had a career day,” Petty explained. “I determined in eighth grade that I was going to be a teacher and a coach.”
Upon graduation from Durant High School, he entered Southeastern to study health, physical education and recreation toward an “HPER” degree. He also worked full-time at the local Green Spray food store, ran the school’s intramural sports program and studied baseball under Mike Metheny and the late Dr. Don “Doc” Parham.
“He’s the one that got me to stay after graduation,” Petty said of Parham, the legendary athletic director who served the school in that capacity for 35 years.
He attended a coaching clinic in Dallas, where he got wind of a history and coaching position at a suburban Houston school. His first head coaching positions were at Grapeland and Centerville, two small rural schools in East Texas.
“Those were top get my feet wet,” he said of the early jobs. In 2002, he joined the staff at Reagan High School. He now teaches geography and history in addition to his duties as head coach.
In 10 years at the helm of Bulldog baseball, Petty’s teams have made the playoffs seven times. They have three district titles in that decade, and have made the “area” playoff round (just shy of state) three years in a row. Petty’s team went undefeated in district play this past spring.
Petty considers it an honor to be part of a legacy at Reagan High School. One of his pitchers is at UT-Brownsville, and another player is on the roster at Mountain View College in Dallas.
“It’s a great honor to have players keep in contact,” he said. “I feel like I was a small stepping stone in their progress toward a career.”