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Bucs 50 Years of History- Spotlight on Coach Rush Propst
September 21, 2012Hoover High School
RUSHing to Judgment-Rush Propst-Hoover Buc Coach (1999-2007)
By Wayne Wood
In early 1999, Hoover was looking for a new head football coach. The administration did an extensive search and after a time selected Rush Propst. Coach Propst had coached in various locations throughout the state and his latest stop had been near Mobile at Alma Bryant High School. In one season, his team had far exceeded expectations. There was no doubt he had extensive coaching knowledge offensively and defensively yet he had some controversial background by some accounts which accompanied his intense personality.
At the time, Hoover Buc Football was at a low tide and the Buccaneer Caravel ship had been "beached off the sea." There were resources at the school for which the right person could come in, straighten the course and get things on the winning ways. It also seemed that there might be a need for a coach who had a "take the bull the horns" personality regardless of what anyone would think. Rush Propst was selected to be that man.
I had only read of Rush's name somewhere in the paper once before and knew nothing about him. The first time I met him at a general meeting at the middle school, it seemed to me that he was very sure of himself although a bit cocky. However, the next time I met him was by chance at a restaurant. We got to know each other better and discussed tha main issue which was the future of Hoover Buc Football.
Rush learned of my longtime loyalty and devotion to the program especially my satisfaction of the last 15 years with Coach Bob Finley. I also told him that in the time I'd spent working with the middle school program I had never seen the amount of talent we had coached the collective 3 years previous to his coming. It was conveyed to him that these upcoming juniors, sophomores, and freshmen had the making of something special in working towards state championship level.
Now I admit that not all of Rush's methods and approaches in coaching were something I agreed with yet I did agree with the goals of winning and doing it the right way. Rush was controversial to be sure but I know that a large portion of that controversy through the years was part jealosy of others and part stubborness and foolish ways on Rush's end. He will admit to such now.
In 1999, the Bucs finished 7-3 and while they didn't go to the playoffs they established a strong foundation for the groups which followed. In 2000, the Bucs won the state title with a 14-1 record and a win over Daphne in the championship game. The next year of 2001 the Bucs went 14-1 but lost to Daphne in the title game. Then the Bucs went on an incredible championship streak of four in a row from 2002-2005. There were many great games played by many great Buccaneer players.
That season of 2005 proved to be memorable of a extra measure. A crew from the network of MTV came to Hoover to film the happenings of the season on and off the field. While it gave the Hoover Bucs national television fame the following year of 2006 it also came with a price of controversy. Not all of the scenes were accepted appropriately by some audience members. Yet the Bucs were selected to encore season in 2006.
Although the fame gained Hoover some temporary glamour it also seemed to intensify the feelings against the program and the school. The 2007 season which is a controversial story all unto itself and it served to create more division especially within the city of Hoover and the surrounding areas. Rush seemed to be the main magnet for the controversy and whether right or wrong, justified or not depends on various points of view.
Personally, Rush was always fair, kind and good to me all through his years at Hoover. He knew of my loyalty to him and the program as a whole. When you look at what Rush created for the program you have to be honestly impressed and it went beyond championships and wins. He helped bring national TV coverage against out-of-state teams which had never been done much before in any part of Alabama. It's expected now that we play a powerhouse team outside the state at least once a year. The 7-on-7 passing national tournament during the summer held at Hoover is remarkable as well as the spread offense which Rush implemented and installed his own way. Many other state teams followed and copied his style though they might not admit it.
Rush resigned in late 2007 from Hoover and eventually find another job in Colquitt County, Georgia and turned that program around from despair to championship level competition beginning in 2008. Now Hoover and Colquitt County have a two-year series scheduled for 2013 and 2014. Rush has been battling cancer and has just about whipped it. He's a changed man spiritually and otherwise and will quickly tell you so. It will be interested when his team comes here in 2013.
Rush did a whole lot for the Hoover Buc Football during his tenure despite what some others may debate. When I was finishing the composition of the book Coach Bob Finley in 2003, I decided to include a bit part from Rush who had only met Coach Finley twice during his life but knew of him quite well. He respected him as a person and a coach immensely. This quote from Rush Propst conveys a classy side when discussing Coach Finley and Hoover High School. He said, "I'll aways think of Hoover as Coach Finley's school." I'll always think of Rush as a friend and fellow colleague despite what some others may have thought.
Thanks Coach Rush Propst for your contributions to the Hoover Buc Football Program.