May 30, 2019
The U.S. and state flags fly over the Texas State Capitol on May 17. As a gift to Gary Thiebaud, the longtime Cypress Ridge High School head football coach and campus athletic coordinator who is retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the state flag was flown in his honor and will be sent to him. The idea came from Talia Dudley, the Cypress Ridge dance teacher and Dazzlers drill team director, who decided to use the flag flown on May 17 to commemorate the 17 years he spent at the school.
By Oluwafemi Ajayi, Cypress Ridge HS
May 30, 2019—The middle of May – specifically May 17, 2019 – will forever have special meaning to Gary Thiebaud, the long-time Cypress Ridge High School head football coach and campus athletic coordinator who announced his retirement following the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
Thiebaud, or “Coach T” as he’s affectionately known by many past and present Cypress Ridge students and staff members, has been honored and celebrated, including a reception on campus May 22.
Gary Thiebaud (right) visits with former student athletes and coaching colleagues during a retirement ceremony in May for the longtime Cypress Ridge High School head football coach and campus athletic coordinator. Thiebaud is retiring following 42 years in coaching and education, with the final 17 coming at Cypress Ridge.
But arguably one of the most unique acts of recognition came from Talia Dudley, the Cypress Ridge dance teacher and Dazzlers drill team director. Through a conversation with a friend, the idea to have the state flag flying over the Texas State Capitol dedicated and gifted to Thiebaud came about.
“What do you buy for a coach and a man who has done so much for the school? He’s a hard guy to buy for but I wanted it to be memorable,” Dudley said. “I thought about a game ball, but he probably had plenty. I have a friend who works for (Texas A&M University) football in College Station and I asked her if she had any cool gift ideas for coaches.
“She told me about this idea and I knew it was perfect.”
Dudley also made sure it came on the 17th day of the month, marking the 17 years Thiebaud spent at Cypress Ridge. He’ll retire following 42 years overall in coaching and education, coming to CFISD in 1994 at Langham Creek High School before helping open Cypress Ridge in 2002.
The U.S. and state flags fly over the Texas State Capitol on May 17. As a gift to Gary Thiebaud, the longtime Cypress Ridge High School head football coach and campus athletic coordinator who is retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the state flag was flown in his honor and will be sent to him.
“I was totally blown away,” Thiebaud said of the honor. “I mean I actually had to sit down when I heard that. It was shocking and kind of like when I got the call from (former Katy Cinco Ranch head football coach) Don Clayton saying I had been inducted into the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Hall of Honor. It was very similar to that – just blown away."
Also fitting into narrative was the Cypress Ridge football program concluding spring workouts with its spring game on May 17. The Dazzlers were among those in attendance supporting the team and they performed, dedicated their halftime performance to Thiebaud.
“I didn’t realize the significance of the timing until that moment,” Dudley said. “It was pretty cool.”
The gift and gesture is just one of many from current and past Rams, as well as countless others during Thiebaud’s 42-year career.
“He did everything he could to help me along the way,” said Kyle Caesar, a 2005 Cypress Ridge graduate. “I always appreciated that. I spent countless hours under his tutelage and am a better man for it. The greatest compliment I can give him is he builds men, not just athletes.”
As far as the state flag heading his way, Thiebaud hasn’t figured out the final spot for it just yet.
“I’m trying to figure out where I’m going to hang it in my office, what bookshelf or how it’s going to go together,” he said. “I’m going to wait, get it and then we’ll see. But it’s going to be very special.”