Coach Jordan continues to inspire


Photo from Ruben Jordan

Troylon Griffin II, Sports Editor

UPDATE: Retired Coach Jordan heroically lost his life in the flooding after Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. The HiLife staff is reposting this story as a tribute to him and his family. WJ


This year marks 28 years in which track and cross-country Coach Ruben Jordan has worked at Clear Creek High School. For 28 years Ruben Jordan has helped Creek gain success in football, track and cross-country.

“Why do I coach? For the love of the game.”  Jordan said.

Jordan came to Creek in 1987. He previously coached at Beaumont and was looking for a new opportunity to see something different and meet different people.  Jordan described his first year as a notable one.

“It was interesting,”  Jordan said. “I was coming from Beaumont to a whole different type of school system but it was good. We had good athletes, good coaches. Most of the guys I came over here with I played college football with. It was a relaxed atmosphere,” Jordan said.

Jordan said that students were certainly surprised at what they saw when he arrived.

“They were surprised because I fell in here with a jheri curl and a tight suit, and I was kind of built back in the day but they’ve always accepted me, and we’ve had fun, and it was a pleasure,”  Jordan said.

At Creek, the students and staff have always spoken of  Jordan in a good manner. He believes that this is due to the way he builds a, “personal relationship with these kids.” The relationship is based on equality by, “treating them the same as others.”

Jordan himself was surprised by the fresh new environment. Having come from a predominantly African American district, Jordan found it quite different to see a much more diverse environment.

Jordan’s first year was also a  memorable one due to success he and his team had that year.

“We ended up being state runner up and lost by only half a point,”  Jordan said. He said year one was a great one.

“To get to the state meet and qualify that many kids and have success at the same time, it was a very outstanding year,”  Jordan said. “You can’t forget about it. I had some great years after that but you always remember the first.”

In general,  Jordan described his early years at Creek as somewhat of a challenge, but noted how motivated the athletes were.

“You didn’t have to push them as much,”  Jordan said. “You had more parent involvement which is the key to everything and the kids were more disciplined because of their home life.”

Jordan attended Tyler John Tyler High School and graduated with the class of 1977. Growing up,  Jordan developed a love of sports at an early age. His father was a , and he attended school with retired Houston Oilers football player Earl Campbell.

“I grew up with it [sports].”  Jordan said. “Back in the day my parents would make us go outside and we couldn’t come in the house. You had to find something to do and it just stuck with me the whole time and I still have that outdoor feeling that I need to be involved in doing something.”

Jordan’s relationship with profootball player,  Earl  Campbell  helped shape Jordan’s future, as Campbell was one of  Jordan’s idols.

“Playing football with Earl Campbell had a big impact, just to watch the football team and their unity,”  Jordan said. “He was my idol, my hero and to say he had the same success from the same high school I came from, it makes you appreciate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.”

Jordan had many influences that made him want to become a coach, particularly his high school coaches.

“I had great high school coaches. Coach Smith was one of my coaches. He coaches here now. I watched them develop relationships and develop attitudes and I played college football and sometimes you just don’t want to let go and I felt the best way to stay involved was to get an education and use it towards helping other athletes,” Jordan said.

For years, Jordan has been using the traits that he has inherited from his coaches. He does his best to teach his athletes lessons he feels are necessary in life.

“I try to teach them about life,” Jordan said. “And that you’re going to have up and downs just like in the real world. You’re going to in some; you’re going to lose some. It’s about how you accept it. You’ve got to move day to day. You’re going to have downfalls. You’ve got to take the downfall and just keep going.”

When trying to motivate his athletes, Jordan  always tells them to remember they’re representing their school, their family, their teammates and most of all themselves. Jordan considers sportsmanship, discipline, team unity and the willingness to have fun to be the most important values in his athletes and people. Jordan feels the most important values in himself is that he is willing to work with everyone, understand that not everyone is the same and being fair, firm and consistent.

But if there is one thing Jordan does even better in teaching lessons to his athletes, it’s training them.

“We have workouts posted to where the kids know what they’re doing everyday,” Jordan said. “If you have things in front of the athletes and students the same as classwork and they know what’s to be expected from what they’re doing, so we post workouts.” Jordan has his athletes work out four days a week to get ready and look at competition as “getting paid.”

“We work four days and the fifth day we call it payday,” Jordan said. “Payday for students is being successful, going out and performing the best you can. Everything is geared towards that; you’re not going to get better unless you practice. As they say, practice makes perfect.”

Jordan has noted that many of his athletes have come back to him after college and admitted his workouts were harder than the ones they were given in college.                                        

Throughout the years Jordan has seen much at Creek and garnered many memories. Of Jordan’s twenty-eight years, he has said his favorite year is every year.

“You don’t specify one specific year because you’re taking away from other kids who have given as much as the rest of them,” Jordan said.

But Jordan certainly has several favorite memories. Of all those memories, Jordan says his favorite memory at Creek was watching his son and daughter graduate from Creek and receive full scholarships.

“It was the joy of a father, not a coach to watch your kids graduate and walk across that stage and make you proud as a parent and that’s a time I look at myself as a parent, not a coach, someone that had influence in what they were doing.”

Jordan’s daughter is now a doctor and his son a financial advisor.

Jordan also told of his athletic memory.               

“Probably my most athletic memory is when we went on a roll and won five district championships in a row, not as good as ten, but at least we were on to something.” Jordan said.

Outside of school and coaching, Jordan enjoys spending time with his daughter and son and going to other athletes. Jordan also owns driving schools in Friendswood, Clear Lake and Deer Park.

In more recent years, Jordan has continued to have many great memories and notes every year Creek’s track team has had many highlights in hurdles, distant running and the four by four hundred relays. Working at Creek for nearly 30 years has taught Jordan many things but above all it’s shown him “how people work together and how the students are cooperative” and “disciplined.”

One might wonder why Jordan continues to stay at Creek, and his answer is simply the kids.

“The kids are good,” Jordan said. “You have good kids here. I enjoy kids. Kids are special.”

Even after years of helping lead Creek’s football, track and cross country team to success, Jordan admits he does not think the teams would have any different success had he not coached them.

“I don’t look at myself as someone who made them,” Jordan said. “I look at myself as a part of them being successful. I would never take the rope to say I’m the reason they’re successful. I don’t get out and run one lap, I don’t tackle one person in football. I’m just there as an influence and a motivator for them to do what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Overall, Jordan continues to work at Creek and gain many new memories and favorite years, and the Creek athletes continue to be successful, due to Jordan and their hard work.