THSADA Spotlight: Jerry Comalander

J. ComalanderJerry Comalander grew up in Big Wells and Dilley.  He graduated from Dilley High School in 1957, where he participated in all sports.  He was an All-State basketball player and valedictorian of his class in 1957.  He attended Rice University on a basketball scholarship, lettered, earned a degree and graduated in 1961.  In 1968 he completed his Masters of Education from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio.  He and his wife Mary are the proud parents to two sons.  Both played for their dad at Churchill High School.  Gary attended Baylor University, walked on in football, played every year, and graduated in four years.  He is married to Valerie and has two sons.  Mark attended Rice University on a football scholarship, started four years as quarterback and received his degree in 1989.  He is married to Rene and has two daughters.

Comalander began his coaching career in Devine in 1961.  He served there for six years as an assistant in football and basketball with four of those years as the head basketball coach.  The next stop was in Uvalde for six years, where he served as the head basketball coach and assistant in football.  The 1972 Coyotes were the State Football Champions, posting an undefeated season.

In 1973 Comalander went to Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio.  He was an assistant for two years and then served as the head football coach for thirteen years.  His overall head coaching record is 125 wins, 28 losses, and 3 ties, for a winning percentage of 80%.  There were eight playoff appearances, including three quarterfinalists, two semifinalists, and a State Championship in 1976 with a record of 15-0.  Comalander was chosen as the Texas Sportswriter’s “Coach of the Year” in 1976.  During his 27 years of coaching he served as a head coach in football, basketball, track, and tennis.

In April of 1988 Comalander became the Executive Director of Athletics for North East ISD a position he held for 27 years.  During those 27 years North East high schools have won 26 state team championships in six different sports.  Churchill High School has won the Lone Start Cup twice.  Comalander has seen the district grow to seven high schools and fourteen middle schools.  He has been instrumental in helping renovate or build completely new the athletic facilities of each secondary school as well as doing the same for all sports at the district’s central location.

A member of the Texas High School Coaches Association for 54 years, Comalander served on the All-Star Selection Committee and chaired this group in 1980 and was a THSCA director for three years.  He served as the President of the THSCA in 1984-85 and was inducted into the THSCA Hall of Honor in 1991.  He served as the president of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association in 2002 and was inducted into the THSADA Hall of Honor in 2005.  In 2004 Comalander received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award.  In 2000 the North East Board of Trustees renamed the North East Football Stadium as “Jerry Comalander Stadium.”  In 2008 Comalander was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.

Jerry Comalander and his wife Mary of almost fifty-five years are members of the Shearer Hills Baptist Church in San Antonio.  Their family has always been their focus, along with their faith, and the coaching profession.  Comalander recognizes that every accomplishment is a credit to the outstanding student athletes whom he has been privileged to coach and the excellent coaches with whom he has worked.  He also thanks the many qualified athletic directors in San Antonio and across the state for a great relationship over the past 27 years.  The THSCA and the THSADA leadership and members are the very best of the best.  Retirement will bring much of the same with more time for travel, enjoying the family, and a little more golf.  We have been and continue to be blessed.