Players remember Frankenmuth football coach Budd Tompkins as one of a kind – mlive.com

Posted: September 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm


without comments

Roger Budd Tompkins had plenty of impressive numbers.

He can claim two state titles, 88 wins and a four-year run of 34-1 in his first four seasons as the Frankenmuth High School varsity football coach. He added Class C Coach of the Year honors in 1969 and was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1993.

Tompkins, 86, died Saturday in South Boardman, near his hometown of Traverse City.

But Tompkins left his biggest footprints in Frankenmuth, taking over the varsity head coaching job in 1966 and putting together a 34-1 record in his first four seasons, including back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons in 1968 and 1969. In 14 seasons at Frankenmuth, Tompkins was 88-37.

The reason he did not win 100 games or serve as a varsity head coach beyond 1979 says as much about Tompkins the person as Tompkins the coach, according to his former players.

Hes a major reason I got into coaching and who I became, why I pursued the career I did, former Frankenmuth player and coach Ralph Munger said. He often told me that if you spend eight years in one place, youre probably going to find its time to move on. In this case, we never talked about switching coaching jobs.

Tompkins left the Frankenmuth head coaching job, opening the door for Munger, who was coaching the freshman team. Tompkins remained a coach, taking over the freshman program for eight seasons. Munger went on to coach at Frankenmuth and Rockford, compiling a 335-109 record before retiring in 2019.

It shows the type of teacher he was, the fact that he really enjoyed networking and getting to know people on a very personal level, Munger said. Its a little easier to do that with ninth-graders. They are more impressionable. And back then, ninth grade was the first year that young men played football. He was their first coach.

Jeff Reinbold played for Tompkins at Frankenmuth, then went to Northern Michigan, thanks to Tompkins.

Budd told me it would be fun to play there he had played there, Reinbold said. That was in 1974, and they were winless so he thought I might be able to get playing time right away. The next year they won the national championship.

One of the most unselfish things Budd did was go down to the freshman level so that Ralph could come in and coach at the varsity level. Budd was a tremendous mentor to those young kids. He was a good motivator, but his follow-up after with guys that needed his help was what made him special. Even when things didnt go well for them after football or after school, he was there when they needed him.

Football was simply one vehicle for Tompkins, who starred at Northern Michigan University. Tompkins organized deer-hunting and fishing trips for students and taught a fly-tying class after school. He became a talented artist and woodworker, sending unfinished work to a special-needs son of a former player, asking the son to finish the piece.

Budd Tompkins saw things in people that they did not see in themselves, Bill Tucker said. Tucker, a 1979 Frankenmuth graduate, is a pastor at Concordia-San Antonio.

I talked to him a couple years ago for the first time in 35 years, and he remembered so many details, things like a gift I sent to his son that I had forgotten about. We hadnt talked for 35 years, but he knew details about me and what I had been doing because he really cared about people.

Not just football players.

He could reach young men, and it didnt matter if they were football players or not, Munger said. He had a real knack for bringing out the absolute best and making individuals believe they were capable of things they probably didnt think they were capable of.

You didnt have to be a 4.0 student or a star athlete. It didnt matter. What was important to Coach was your heart and you as an individual. He was one-of-a-kind.

Tompkins taught some classes, but his primary role at Frankenmuth was as a guidance counselor.

Coach was fighting hard for me to get an appointment to Air Force, because thats what I thought I wanted to do, Tucker said. But I wasnt sure. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a pastor, and the first person I told was Coach.

But it wasnt a stress-free conversation.

We met and he started talking about the Air Force and everything he had done and what I had to do then he stopped talking and looked at me, Tucker said. He asked me if I had something on my mind. I told him I wanted to be a pastor. I wasnt sure how he would react because he had worked so hard for me to get into the Air Force.

So much depended on how he reacted because my decision was so fragile. But without missing a beat, he said, You know Bill, thats sounds like a great idea. By that night, he had already contacted colleges and got the ball rolling so I could go to Concordia-River Forest.

After he left Frankenmuth, Tompkins became an assistant coach for Jim Ooley at Traverse City, helping the Trojans win a Class A state title in 1988.

He was an old-school type of guy hard-nosed and tough, Munger said. We moved here when I was a junior, but we didnt have a house yet. My dad would bring me and drop me off. During the lunch break, I would go home with Coach, take a nap, eat a lunch, get to know the teammates.

He was always there to help.

Tompkins is survived by his wife Gretchen Tompkins.

We called Gretchen Ma Coach because she was right there with Coach helping us, Munger said. They were both willing to spend time with us. I would go over to the house and Ma Coach would always pour me a glass orange drink. We would just sit and talk football.

The thing about Coach though is that such a small part of what made him special was football.

Tucker graduated from Concordia-River Forest in 1983 and attended Fort Wayne Seminary.

Coach was an amazing person, and its sad that he died but Im glad for his life, Tucker said. Ive had lots of coaches and teachers and mentors who have had an impact in my life.

None have had as big an impact as Coach Tompkins.

MORE

Northern Michigan meets Hollywood for football movie that would give Rudy goosebumps

Originally posted here:
Players remember Frankenmuth football coach Budd Tompkins as one of a kind - mlive.com

Related Post

Written by admin |

September 3rd, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Life Coaching