Pride of Big Spring: Tannehill heads to AFC Championship Game

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 11:13 PM CST
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Big Spring High School has produced its fair share of NFL players, but it’s the most recent Steer-turned-pro that’s playing in the AFC Championship Game this weekend.

“Well, I’ve known Ryan Tannehill from the moment he was born,” BSHS Principal and Athletic Director Mike Ritchey. “I worked with his mom and dad. His dad came to Big Spring, and we coached together for 14 years here. I’ve watched [Ryan] grow up into a fine young man and a heck of an NFL quarterback.”

It didn’t take Ritchey long to see Tannehill was bound for greatness.

“Oh the first time he threw the football,” Ritchey said. “He just had that ‘it’ factor. Not only with his arm but just the understanding of the game. It never hurts to be a coach’s son, because from the moment he could walk he was around athletes. You grow up in that environment, and it just comes to you naturally.”

Off the field, Tannehill graduated in the top five percent of his class. His dad is still an associate principal at Big Spring High, but when we contacted the elder Tannehill, he didn’t want to brag about his son on-camera.

“That’s just Tim Tannehill,” Ritchey said. “They’re a very humble family, and this is all about Ryan. This is Ryan’s moment. They’re proud, very proud, but that’s just the Tannehills, very humble family.

Following playoff upsets over the Patriots and Ravens, Ritchey said the school and community have already adopted Tannehill’s Tennessee Titans as their favorite team.

“He’s just a good old West Texas kid,” Ritchey said. “I know that when it comes to football, we have a lot of pride here in West Texas, so I challenge everyone to get behind that Titan movement and let’s pull for him. Maybe get a victory and move on to the Super Bowl, and possibly win one.”

Regardless of what happens Sunday, Tannehill is already a local legend.

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