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GP North Shore High Eulogized Principal Kenneth Wallace

Dr. Joe Coleman, Principal, North Shore High School, Master of Ceremonies For The Kenneth Wallace Memorial. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

August 9, 2022 – Houston, TX – Galena Park ISD’s North Shore High School assembled several hundred of its faculty and staff to pay tribute to the late Kenneth Wallace to kick off their school year. Wallace was described by former coworkers, teammates, classmates, and students as an exceptional leader and educator.

This year’s North Shore Mustangs will wear a decal of “KW” on the varsity football helmets in recognition of Mr. Wallace. His son Reggie Wallace has been named 2022-2023 Head Track Coach at NSHS.

Wallace, better known as “Mr. Wallace,” was the NSHS principal from 2000 to 2011, and each of his years there as principal, the school achieved recognition by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). He advanced to associate superintendent and ultimately deputy superintendent before retiring in 2019 with 45 years as an educator.

Principal Dr. Joe Coleman was Master of Ceremonies of the memorial ceremony. He presented screen slides of Wallace’s successes, which also included NSHS’s current history of academic and athletic achievements of 2021-2022 and before.

Coleman used the positive impact of role modeling by Wallace’s teachers and coaches as to how they affected him as a student and football player at Lubbock’s Estacado High School, Texas Tech University, and later in life. While using Wallace’s background as an illustration, Coleman said to the assembly, “You’ll see the true influences you teachers and coaches have on students.”

David Moody, Wallace’s classmate, remembers Estacado Coach Jimmie Keeling and his role-modeling, which influenced us players.

“Coach Keeling was like a dad to so many,” Moody said. “Kenneth and I came from low socioeconomic backgrounds, we use to talk about this all the time: Keeling would always ask us — almost daily — what are we going to be doing with our lives in 10 years? And that was huge, because, like I said, we were low socioeconomic. We didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from sometimes,” stated Moody.

Kenneth took it to heart, becoming a trailblazer on the field and off, from the time he was a high-school athlete far into his professional life.

“It’s amazing what he did with his career,” said Moody.

James Mosley, another classmate and teammate, said, “Kenneth was very serious about whatever he was involved in. He had a vision for what he wanted to do, and he went and accomplished it. Ken was our starting quarterback on the 1968 Estacado Matadors. Our team was the first team to ever win a Texas high-school state championship in its first year of varsity competition. He led us, he was a true leader. He had both football smarts and book smarts,” Mosley said.

Texas Tech Coach JT King presents the Donny Anderson Sportsmanship Award to cornerback Kenneth Wallace in 1973. The Red Raiders went 11-1 and beat Tennessee in the Gator Bowl.

Wallace received a full scholarship to play football at Texas Tech University. He was the first Black American football player to graduate from Texas Tech in 1974. He was an all-Southwest Conference cornerback on Texas Tech’s 11-1 Gator Bowl champions of 1973. He was winner of the Red Raiders’ Donny Anderson sportsmanship award in 1973, and played in the 1974 Coaches All-America Game at Jones Stadium.

On the occasion of the Red Raiders’ thousandth game in 2015, Wallace was selected on the all-time Texas Tech team and started every game on the Red Raiders’ 1972 Sun Bowl team and the 1973 Gator Bowl team. He was selected in 1999 as one of the South Plains’ top 100 athletes of the century. In 2016 he was inducted into the Lubbock ISD Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, Wallace began coaching high school football. He was the first Black man hired to be head coach in any sport at one of Lubbock’s predominantly white public high schools.

He was named Coach of the Year on the All-City team for the job he did in 1981 at Dunbar and in 1987 at Coronado. He took the Panthers from 1-9 in his first season as head coach in 1980 to 7-1-2 in 1981 and 10-2 and regional finalists in 1982. Classmate Mosley said, “He wasn’t only about football but also academics; he convinced students not to drop out, but to graduate and then complete college.”

He was principal at Estacado for 13 years, then again principal and an administrator for GPISD at NSHS from 2000 to 2019. Some of his coworkers still at NSHS say he laid the early groundwork that has helped the Mustangs win five state championships.

Dr. Coleman said, “Mr. Wallace started the Ken Wallace Leadership Scholarship in 2012 for our students, and nearly 70 scholarships have been given out since. He also started the Wall of Honor, where students who receive a 3.6 GPA or higher are awarded letterman jackets.”

Born Kenneth Wayne Wallace, in Lubbock, Texas on October 29, 1951, he passed away at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston June 24, 2022 at the age of 70. He is survived by his wife Carolyn Wallace; son, Reggie Wallace (a NSHS coach); and twin daughters, Tiffany Wallace and Tonya Wallace.

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