Welcome to Our Town Temple
JULY 13, 2021
Howdy, Hi, Hola…What’s up, Temple?
Welcome to the premier of Our Town Temple e-delivery. OK, I had said I wasn’t launching until Thursday. Sorry, but I just couldn’t wait. Let’s get to the stories…
Fredenburg: Expectations high in 2021
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
Armed with an all-American free safety, 19 returning starters and the largest recruiting class in school history, expectations are high for the team that Pete built.
Coming off an undefeated but abbreviated spring season during the pandemic era of 2020, the University of Mary Hardin Baylor plans to reclaim a national title.
“We have a bunch of players back and expectations are very high,” said Pete Fredenburg, the only football coach to ever lead UMHB. “Our players expect to win. They come here to win national championships.”
Last year, Cru coaches spent as much time preparing for battle against COVID-19 as they did preparing the team for upcoming games.
“It was extremely tough and our coaches probably worked harder than they ever have,” Fredenburg said. “We had to restrict everything to groups of 10 — team meetings, the dressing rooms, the weight room. Instead of having one session, we had many.”
Fredenburg — the 10th winningest active coach in all of NCAA football with a 84.7 winning percentage — hopes this season is much different.
“We pray and anticipate 2021 to be as normal as possible,” he said. “Freshmen report August 4, and our first practice is August 12.”
Jon Wallin, UMHB’s sports information director since 1999, said the upcoming season should be normal for fans as well.
“We all know things can change, but as of right now we expect 2021 to look a lot like 2019,” Wallin said. “We expect our stadium to be at 100 percent capacity with no masks or social distancing. Every seat will be available.”
Fredenburg, the former Baylor University defensive coordinator, came to UMHB in 1998 to start a new program. It didn’t take long before fans knew they were witnessing something special.
The Crusaders went 3-7 Fredenburg’s first year and 4-5 the following year. Other than two seasons erased by NCAA infractions, 1998 and 1999 are the only two losing seasons in the team’s history.
“The next year we went 9-1 and never looked back,” Wallin said. “Pete and his teams have enjoyed tremendous success.”
Wallin compares Fredenburg’s success at UMHB to parenthood.
“Technically, Pete has three children, but Crusader football is like his fourth child,” Wallin said. “He gave birth to it, he nurtured it and he raised it to be successful.”
The 2021 Crusaders return nine offensive starters this season, but expect a bit of competition for the starting quarterback nod.
Tommy Bowden started the 2020 season and rushed for 253 yards and passed for 287 yards and five touchdowns. Kyle King took over the starting job for the final two games, and he scored 12 touchdowns and passed for 613 yards.
“Kyle earned the starting quarterback job, but he’s going to have some competition,” Fredenburg said. “Bowden is very capable. He definitely has an opportunity,”
Defensively, 10 starters return including all-American free safety Jefferson Fritz and Mikkah Hackett, the team’s leading tackler a year ago with 46 stops, including seven behind the line of scrimmage.
“Fritz can play any position and do an incredible job,” Fredenburg said. “He leads by example and expects his teammates to do the same.”
Along with a host of returning starters, the 2021 season will welcome the largest group of recruits Fredenburg has had at UMHB.
“The pandemic had a huge impact on recruiting,” he said. “A lot of the Division 1 teams were focusing on the transfer portal, looking for players who are leaving one college for another. We found a lot of high school guys available.”
When Fredenburg accepted the challenging of building a UMHB football program all those years ago, he didn’t think it would be a long-term commitment.
“I came here from Division I programs — Baylor, LSU and Louisiana Tech,” he said. “I expected to come in, build the program and stay a couple years, then go back to Division 1 coaching. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”
I didn’t expect to fall in love with Belton,” he said with a chuckle. “I love what I do, love the program and love the university. I’ve had great staffs and coached great men. It’s been fun.”
Fredenburg admitted that he is thinking about life after football, but stopped short of saying this would be his final year.
“I’m getting to the point where I want to think about the future,” he said. “I have athletic grandchildren, and I want to watch them play. Yes, retirement is creeping into my mind.”
Expanded Temple shelter may save animal lives
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
Temple Animal Shelter soon will have more space and kennels for homeless dogs and cats, giving staff more time to find forever homes for dozens of animals.
Temple’s city council approved funding earlier this month for several projects, including an expansion at the animal shelter.
The funding for the project was approved as part of $54.9 million in certificates of obligation issued for a variety of projects. The majority of the money will be used for construction projects on Hartrick Bluff Road, the Outer Loop West and on North and South Pea Ridge Road.
Unlike most forms of municipal debt, certificates of obligation do not require voter approval.
According to Temple Animal Services supervisor Amy Strunk, expansion is needed to keep pace with the city’s growth.
“The shelter houses stray impounded animals that require a hold before they can be adopted,” she said. “The shelter also accepts owner surrenders for Temple residents. The expansion will allow us to separate strays on hold from animals available for adoption.”
The expansion will allow the shelter to increase its number of kennels from 40 to about 80, giving animals a better chance to be adopted. In addition to increasing the number of kennels, the expansion also will include a redesigned cat room, climatized dog rims and additional indoor and outdoor meet-and-greet areas where potential owners can get to know dogs they may be interested in adopting.
“Right now we really don’t have a lobby,” Strunk said. “When you walk in the front door, there’s a customer desk in the middle of our work spaces. That will change.”
The expanded shelter will include a dedicated lobby area for guests and separate offices for shelter staff, she said.
Temple Animal Shelter willl retain its limited no-kill status, but the added space will allow dogs and cats longer stays while waiting to be adopted.
“A no-kill status is always a goal with any shelter,” Strunk said. “Additional space will help accommodate the increase of animals brought to the shelter as Temple continues to grow.”
Construction is expected to start on two downtown parking garages this fall. Above is a rendering of the Fourth Street Garage.
Temple’s downtown parking garages, including the above First Street Garage, should be completed by summer 2021.
650 new parking spaces coming to Downtown
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
The days of circling downtown blocks in search of a parking spot soon will be a thing of the past.
According to David Olson, an assistant Temple city manager, the need for additional parking space will be met in about a year with the completion of two parking garages.
The garages will give downtown an additional 650 spaces.
“We are still in the design phase of the project, but construction should start in October of this year,” Olson said this week. “It should take about nine months to complete. The garages will be operational in the summer of 2022.”
Olson said the garages will likely be on a pay-to-park system but fee schedules have not been finalized.
“We want to encourage people to come downtown,” he said. “Parking will be affordable.”
A garage Olson called the Fourth Street Garage will be located at Fourth and Central, adjacent to the Hawn Hotel.
“It will be a six-level garage with parking on the second through sixth floors,” he said. “The first floor will be retail. We’re working with Turner | Behringer Real Estate, the developers of the Hawn Hotel, Arcadia Theater and Sears building projects to fill the retail spaces.”
The Fourth Street Garage will provide about 415 parking spaces, Olson said.
The First Street Garage will be at the intersection of First and Avenue A in what is now the Extraco Banks parking lot.
“First Street will have three levels and 235 parking spaces,” he said. “This one won’t have retail. It will be all parking.”