Coach Cotton Staten

In every athlete’s life there are certain role models that create the pattern of what you would love to become as a person. I was a junior high “knot head” in the late 60’s admiring the “Big Boys” as they played sports. I decided very early that this was the lifestyle for me. Living and growing up in Hooks, Texas worked out to be perfect for my personality. Hooks was small town and filled with a richness that is hard to explain when talking to young people today. We had very little to play with and technology did not exist. It was a wonderful community allowing everyone to leave their doors unlocked and their valuables unguarded. Looking at what is available today I would say that my times of the past were as close to Utopia as you could get.

Another situation that I considered “as good as you could get” was the wonderful coaches that were employed by Hooks ISD. 1966 was the year and the coaching staff included Durwood Merrill, Charles Phillips, and Bobby Staten, Coach Merrill was the head coach and taught general science with Charles Phillips serving as the Assistant coach and History teacher. Bobby Staten was the head basketball coach and Math teacher.

The Competitive Edge was founded on the principals that were instituted by these wonderful coaches, and for this edition we are featuring Coach Bobby Staten. Coach Bobby “Cotton” Staten played baseball and basketball at what was then Southern State College from 1953-1957. In basketball, Cotton lettered his final three years and helped the Muleriders win the NAIA District 17 Championship in 1957. In baseball, Cotton would be the epitome of a utility player as he played second base, shortstop, third base, and even spent time behind the plate as a catcher. In 1954, Cotton helped the Muleriders capture an AIC Championship outright and then in 1956, the Muleriders would share the AIC crown with Ozarks.

After his coaching career at Hooks, Cotton returned to Southern State in the fall of 1967 and served as the head baseball coach while also assisting with the Mulerider basketball and football programs. Cotton served as a multi-sport coach for three years before moving out of coaching in 1970.

In his first year at Southern Arkansas in 1967-68, Cotton helped the school claim the AIC All-Sports Trophy after the football team posted a 5-3-1 record, basketball an 18-8 mark, and baseball a 16-10 record which was highlighted by an AIC Championship; the first since Cotton’s playing days.

For his efforts as head baseball coach in 1968, Cotton was named NAIA District 17 and NAIA Area V Coach of the Year.

Overall, as a head baseball coach, Cotton would amass a 43-38 record, but combined with his assistant coaching efforts in basketball and football, Cotton was a part of 105 wins over his three-year collegiate coaching career.

It is because of his outstanding efforts that Cotton is being inducted to the Southern Arkansas University Hall of Fame.

I ask Fred Duffer, a long time friend and Hooks graduate to write a small paragraph of what Coach meant to him and this is what he wrote.

I have the fondest memories of Cotton Staten. Coach Staten was far more than a coach, he was my mentor in all aspects. The definition of a mentor “someone who freely gives help and advice to others over an important period of that person’s life” is a true definition of Bobby Staten.
Coach Staten unselfishly assumed the roll of mentoring me in a very important, developing period of my life.

While on the field or more specifically “on the court” Coach Staten always coached us through good times and bad times with the demeanor of a professional. He never lost his temper and he always encouraged everyone to give their very best and success would be ours.
During those critical teen years, it is very important for a young boy to have the approach in life that “if you work hard and put your best effort into the game, you will be successful”
Coach Bobby Staten taught me and many others to be winners and I hope I can sincerely thank him for the impact he has had on my and many others lives. Thanks Coach, you taught us how to win !!
Fred Duffer — HHS 1964,65,66

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