Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Wixon: Playoff clash tricky for coaches who shared tragedy
Back in 2005, Mike Overton was the new offensive coordinator at West Mesquite and Gary Kinne was building a winning program at Canton. Kinne and "O," as many people call Overton, had a lot to talk about.
But their phone call on April 7 of that year was interrupted. A man was yelling Kinne's name outside his office, so Kinne put Overton on hold to open the office door.
Moments later, Kinne was back on the phone.
"O," he said, "I've been shot."
"Kind of a scary thing. Very eerie," Overton remembers, obviously understating what must've been a terrifying experience.
Overton scrambled to call the Canton High School office. A few minutes later, police and paramedics arrived to help Kinne, who had been critically injured by a gunshot to the stomach.
Five years later, the frightening shooting of Kinne has been well-documented. Jeffrey Doyal Robertson, the irate parent of a Canton football player, was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
And Kinne, who was in the hospital for several weeks and needed several surgeries on his severely damaged liver, made a remarkable recovery. He missed only one game during the 2005 season and helped Canton to its first district title since 1961.
Now he'll be coaching Sherman (10-1) in its biggest game of the season. The only thing Kinne would change is who he'll be coaching against Friday in the Class 4A Division I area-round game. On the other side of the field at Cowboys Stadium will be Overton, who is now in his fifth season as head coach of West Mesquite (9-2).
"You don't want to lose to your friend, but you don't want to see him lose, either," Kinne said. "It's easier when you play somebody you don't know."
Kinne and Overton know each other well. They have sons who were born 13 days apart, and those sons - G.J. Kinne and Doug Overton - became friends. When the boys were in elementary school in Mesquite, they would head to Overton's house after school to be watched by Terry Overton, who was a stay-at-home mom. G.J., a quarterback at Tulsa, and Doug, the head student manager for the Tennessee football team, remain good friends.
So do their fathers, who coached together for five years at Mesquite. Eventually, Kinne became the defensive coordinator for the Skeeters and Overton was the offensive coordinator.
"We were in the press box together," Kinne remembers. "We did a lot of high-fiving and finger pointing."
They could point a No. 1 finger in 2001, when Mesquite went undefeated and won the 5A Division I title. Overton left to coach Farmersville early in 2002 and Kinne went to Canton a year later.
Overton was at Farmersville for three years before landing at West Mesquite, and Kinne was an assistant coach at Baylor for two years before spending a year as coach of Clovis West in Fresno, Calif. He became Sherman's head coach a month before the 2009 season.
The coaches have remained close through it all, and Friday, they'll be on opposite sides of the field. That might be uncomfortably close, but Overton sees the positive in the matchup.
"At Mesquite, we had some good battles because he was on defense and I was on offense," Overton said. "Now we'll have another battle."
And another story to share in the years to come.