|Title:||2009 Inductee (Football 1948/Football Coach 1959-1962)|
Clarence “Sonny” Norrell was born April 24, 1926 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Norrell attended Corpus Christi High School where he was a four year letter winner in football. Upon graduation from High School he served in the United States Navy on the light cruiser, USS Miami in the Pacific. Norrell found his way back to Corpus Christi attending Del Mar College from 1946-1947 before enrolling in the University of Corpus Christi (UCC) in the Fall of 1947. While he only played during the 1948 season for the UCC Tarpons he was a trusted and well respected teammate. He graduated in the second class of UCC in January of 1950.
Norrell began a distinguished teaching career in 1950, which would span an amazing 50 years! His first teaching position was as a first grade teacher at West Oso ISD here in Corpus Christi. A couple years later he began coaching and would lead both the West Oso Football and Track and Field teams from 1952-1953. It should be noted that both Norrell and Pete Blunzer taught first grade at West Oso after serving at starting offensive tackles on the gridiron. After 4 years at West Oso, Norrell accepted a position with the London ISD on the outskirts of Corpus Christi where he taught 7th and 8th grade while coaching basketball.
In the Fall of 1956 he began working for Sundeen Independent School District and the school was at the corner of Airline and South Padre Island Drive today. He taught History and Speech and coached football. The Sundeen School District consolidated with Corpus Christi Independent School District in 1959. Norrell’s teaching and coaching career came full circle in 1959 when he accepted a teaching position in the College of Education at UCC as well as a position on the football coaching staff. After four years of coaching, he elected to focus solely on his teaching career. The dedication to his profession was no more evident than the sacrifice he made to complete his Phd. From 1966 through 1968 he commuted back and forth to East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas while teaching a full load of education classes at UCC. He credits then University president, Kenneth Maroney who allowed him to teach at UCC Tuesday through Thursday and then he would drive to Commerce and work Friday through Monday until he earned his Phd. in 1968.
Norrell would officially retire in 2000 with the title professor emeritus having impacted the lives of hundreds of students over a career in education which spanned 50 years. One area that he was especially proud of was the institutions he put in place for teachers of migrant children. A close friend said, “It was a labor of love for Sonny, love for the institution and the teams. He was indeed in the business of building good character and teaching teamwork. He was one of the essential building blocks in the foundation of what is now Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. There is no one our University could look upon with greater pride than this stalwart builder of our great alma mater.” In addition to his academic accolades, Norrell is in the Miller High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
It should come as no surprise that both of his son’s, Rick and Ron, followed his professional footsteps in education. Norrell and his wife Jane are enjoying their retirement years in Luling, Texas.