Friday, August 14, 1998
Cowboys camp returning to Wichita Falls
The Daily Oklahoman
WICHITA FALLS, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys' training camp ends
Saturday - but they'll be back here next summer.
Owner Jerry Jones announced Thursday night that the Cowboys
have agreed to a one-year extension that will bring the five-time
Super Bowl champions back to Midwestern State University in 1999.
"We may sit down and talk about more years, but candidly
this is an expression of how pleased we are and how effective
our training camp has been here," Jones said."The facilities
are tremendous, and there's an energy here that was evident from
the very start when 15,000 people attended that pep rally."
Part of those facilities include a theater, which has been
used for team meetings, and a nearby high school football stadium,
which was needed one morning when MSU's grass practice fields
Jones also said this camp has a regional flavor that stretches
from Oklahoma City to Dallas to west Texas.
"We noticed each day there were different people in the
stands," Jones said. "We know over 50 percent are coming
from outside Wichita Falls. We're involving a lot of fans in
a wide area."
Last September, the club said that it would be leaving St.
Edward's University after eight years in Austin due to lack of
space at the Catholic school.
Wichita Falls is about 125 miles northwest of Dallas, a few
miles south of the Oklahoma border.
Jones said he did not consider any other cities and was convinced
by his entire family in recent days to return to Wichita Falls.
Even though Jones makes the ultimate decision, he was influenced
by comments from veteran players who raved about the facilities,
highlighted by a state-of-the-art dormitory and weight room.
"I think it would be a consensus that we're pretty excited
to be coming back," said quarterback Troy Aikman. "The
people have been great and the facilities have been wonderful.
From a player's perspective, we couldn't ask for anything more
than what's here."
The Cowboys attract more media and fans to camp than any other
NFL franchise. More than 550 press credentials have been issued
the past four weeks. Nearly 90,000 fans have watched daily practices
on the MSU campus. If you add the 69,000 fans at scrimmages in
El Paso, Texas, and Shreveport, La., 153,000 fans have been a
part of camp.
John Martinez, director of MSU's Bureau of Business and Government
Research, projects $4.2 million will be injected into the Wichita
Falls economy over the next six months due to the Cowboys' spending
31 days in the city of 103,000.
But the bottom line is the Cowboys are here to prepare for
the upcoming season, and that part of camp has been labeled a
success. Even though there are only two days left in camp, it's
another three weeks before the Sept. 6 season opener.
"We've taken some giant strides here," running back
Emmitt Smith said. "The next two weeks will really determine
how much better we can become before the season gets started.
We still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of room to get
By nature, coaches are perfectionists. Chan Gailey said his
first NFL training camp as a head coach, as expected, had positives
and negatives. He highly endorsed Wichita Falls and MSU, but
his top priority is to get this football team ready.
"We've gotten a lot of things done here, but we've got
a lot of areas where we need to get better," Gailey said.
"But we've got time."
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)
All content copyright 1998,
AP, KRT, The Abilene Reporter-News
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