Randle High's Namesake revered for dignity; son Brian looks to carry on for Lions' athletics
AS A THREE-YEAR-OLD GROWING UP IN STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA, BRIAN RANDLE'S LIFE CHANGED.
Playing on the first flight of stairs of his family's apartment complex with his older brother, a horrible accident left Randle completely blind in his right eye.
"He had a big wheel and I had a tricycle," Randle said. "Well, if you have a big wheel, you can go down the apartment stairs into the snow without a problem. A tricycle's not gonna. I flip over and I hit my head so hard I severed my optic nerve.
"I've never known what it's like to see out of two eyes, so I don't know what I'm missing. I was too young to remember."
Randle, now the first-ever head football coach/campus athletic coordinator at Randle High School – Lamar Consolidated ISD's sixth and newest high school named after Randle's father – turned a negative into a positive.
That mindset has defined a coaching career that started in Alief Taylor, continued to Katy ISD, and is now back home in LCISD.
"When a kid's feeling down, I'll say, 'How many hands do you have? How many ears do you have? How many feet do you have? How many eyes you got?'" Randle said. "Then I tell him, 'So, you're doing better than old Coach Randle.' We can laugh about it and it helps them understand that no matter what situation you're in, somebody is doing worse than you. It brings everything back into perspective."
Randle's father, Thomas, was in education for 46 years and recently retired after the 2020-2021 school year as superintendent of Lamar Consolidated ISD after 20 years with the district. Randle grew up in a "no-excuses" household that stressed the importance of helping others.
"I feel like you block your own blessings when you're not being a blessing to somebody else," Randle said.
Thomas Randle exemplifies character and integrity. If more people were like his father, Randle said the world would be a better place because "we'd all be taking care of each other."
"Dad is very calm, very logical, very reasonable," he said. "He's deliberate and thinks things out. He's a unique human. If more people were like dad, everybody would be good and humble. That's what I want to instill in these kids."
The inside of the Randle High School library honoring Thomas E. Randle, father of Lions head football coach/campus athletic coordinator Brian Randle.Dennis Silva II | VYPE Media
Perseverance and fight are two things Randle gets from his mother Rubye, who has a degree in social work.
Randle said people always told him what he couldn't or wouldn't do because of his vision, or lack thereof. In baseball, he had to wear an awkward helmet. When he played football, he had to wear a visor.
It never stopped him.
He played defensive end as a three-year starter at Texas A&M-Kingsville, an NCAA Division II program notable for winning national championships.
"I need the kids to understand that as long as you're doing something positive in your life, you'll be OK," Randle said.
Randle High principal John Montelongo III and LCISD athletic director Nikki Nelson have proved to be the right people
when building and creating Randle High School, Randle said. They are similar in various ways and are often always on the same page.
Montelongo even invited Randle to sit in on the hiring interviews of most of the teachers and coaches at the school.
"Getting to build the entire culture is huge," Randle said. "The best part of all of this is getting to build it from scratch. This is our baby to mess up. We have a clean canvas, and we get to paint and tell our story how we choose to."
The logos, colors, mascot and most of the branding were already established by the time Randle was hired in late February. But he did have a say in some of the branding and is proud of his input into the design of the weight room.
While Randle High has only one weight room, whereas the five other high school campuses have two, it is the biggest in square footage.
Randle made the weight room complementary. There are 12 racks, auxiliaries and hammer strength equipment to accommodate smaller kids — Randle High will open with only freshmen and sophomores to start — and they can build up from smaller weights to bigger weights.
The athletic fieldhouse is also different from the other high schools in that it is attached to the rest of the school building.
One of Randle's primary initiatives is being all- inclusive.
In designing the football uniforms with Montelongo, he suggested they ask the student-athletes for their input. (The 2022 varsity football uniforms will have a Penn State feel regarding look and color combination). He values the contributions of kids.
On Thursdays, Randle oversees talks that are student-led. Every student- athlete contributes to the conversation. It's not unlike his coaches' meetings, where Randle seeks input from every coach.
"Everybody has to contribute," Randle said, smiling. "It's America. No free rides."
In building a program and leading an athletic department from scratch, Randle sought the advice of Katy High football coach Gary Joseph, former Pearland coach Tony Heath, Dickinson football coach John Snelson, North Shore football coach Jon Kay, Pearland football coach and former George Ranch state championship coach Ricky Tullos, and others.
"I don't have an ego," Randle said. "I believe you can learn from anybody about anything. I ask."
Randle has a personal investment in Randle High School. Obviously.
But aside from it being his father's namesake, he has lived in the Rosenberg community for the last 11 years. He lives a few miles from campus. His son will eventually attend the school.
He is not leading for himself. He is leading out of respect for the name.
"One of the things I always tell our kids is our job is to elevate our last name," Randle said. "It doesn't matter where you're at. In my case, my dad always wanted to do right by kids. That's what we're going to do. If you ask somebody what we do with our program and how it's centered around kids, it embodies what dad does. Everything he did was for kids. That's how my mind works. Err on the side of the kid, and live life with character and integrity.
"That's who dad is."