How many times have you passed Delmar-Tusa Sports Complex?
The legendary HISD field is in the heart of the city. Sometimes, we forget the names on the stadium.
Joe Tusa passed away this week at the age of 94-years-old. Tusa was the HISD athletic director for more than two decades during some of the most important moments in the history of Texas high school sports.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Tusa saw Houston high schools through integration and Title IX.
"He wrote me a handwritten letter when I got this job to just congratulate me," HISD AD Andre Walker said. "I still have it in my desk today.
"He was our rock star. He would come to games and was so humble. He made everyone feel like a million bucks. He was just special that way."
Tusa played football at Reagan HS and Rice University. He coached football at Reagan as an assistant and head coach from 1953-1959, before becoming an assistant principal at Waltrip HS in 1960.
He took over the HISD AD position in 1965.
Tusa played a big role in organizing the coaches and athletic director associations in the Houston and the State of Texas. The awards are countless from being named the National AD of the Year to being inducted into countless Hall of Fames in the state. He was also selected for the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.
Under his direction, he saw Yates win a state football title in 1985 and Wheatley basketball win three-straight state titles. Sharpstown won a baseball state title in 1982 and Yates girls hoops won state in 1983.
Tusa was at the epicenter of HISD's heyday and laid the foundation for high school sports in Houston and the state of Texas.
School closures are going to extend past this week.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing stricter social distancing guidelines amidst the Coronavirus outbreak and the President of the United States Donald Trump sharing on Monday that Americans should not gather in groups of 10 or more people, Houston-area school districts are reacting.
On Monday afternoon, school districts including Houston's largest in Houston ISD, Humble ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, started announcing extension of current closures until Friday, April 10. New Caney ISD extended its closure through April 19.
"The district is taking this action as a precautionary measure and in coordination with Houston area efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19," according to a statement by New Caney ISD. "All extracurricular activities, athletics events, and community events held in district facilities through April 19 are postponed. Classes are set to resume Monday, April 20, after the district's scheduled spring break."
#HISD has extended its districtwide closure through Fri. (4/10). The district is scheduled to reopen on Mon. (4/13). The district will re-evaluate on Mon. (4/6) to determine whether a longer closure beyond 4/10 is necessary. Updates available at https://t.co/PCjq3QkzUB pic.twitter.com/wbEZjafWnl
— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) March 16, 2020
Klein ISD, Galena Park ISD, Friendswood ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Alvin ISD and Conroe ISD made similar announcements. It is expected that the majority of Houston school districts will close until April 10, pushing the education to online only.
With this newest development, the cut into the spring sports seasons goes even deeper, now wiping out a majority of the baseball and softball seasons.
"We would come back and basically have four district games left," New Caney baseball coach Austin Hall told VYPE in a phone interview. "I know our Athletic Director Brent Sipe, he does a great job, I'm sure he's on the phone with the UIL trying to make plans. My thing right now is I just want our seniors to have one more shot, whether that's one game or four games. I want them to be able to play again.
"It's not like college, you can't grant these kids an extra year of eligibility at the high school level. You just want the kids to play as many games as they can but at the same time you have to be safe. You have to do what's best for everybody."
It also pulls into question if the soccer playoffs will indeed start on April 14, which was the new start date the University Interscholastic League released on Friday. There were some soccer teams that hadn't fully completed their district slate as of the suspension of play. The newest cancellation of extra-curricular activities could also impact track & field district meets as well.
The closures will also cut into the possibility of area football teams holding spring practice. Some schools choose to hold spring football practice instead of starting on August 3. Those teams instead start a week later in the fall on August 10.
The situation continues to be a fluid one and the UIL has stated that they will continue to update their website, which was updated on Monday afternoon cancelling even practices at a statewide level through March 29.
"I've reached out to a couple of other districts and they're kind of in wait-and-see mode," Hall said.