KATY, Texas (FOX 26) - The Katy Tigers football team walked the halls on Tuesday as the 2015 state and national champs for the first time. It's quite an accomplishment, knowing how the whole Katy community benefits from the team's effort. It has put Katy "on the map" and then some.
"People know where Katy is," says Mayor Fabol Hughes. "Believe me they know." Hughes also says he has seen the team win seven of its 8 state titles. Asked if he ever brags about the Tigers to other mayors, he says, no, he doesn't have to. The football team does all the communicating necessary.
"This Katy Tiger team has done more for economic development and advertising for Katy than all the dollars we could have ever spent," Mayor Hughes tells FOX 26 News.
The success of the football team is one more tool that can can be used to attract businesses to the area. Chris Tanae, marketing manager for the Katy Area Economic Development Council say Katy football is a recognizable brand.
"It may push them to go look up Katy and say, 'Hey, what's that all about?'" says Tanae.
It's nothing short of amazing to see the athletic department's trophy case. It's truly just about out of room to put event the 2015 trophy.
Tigers head coach Gary Joseph says when kids join the program they can see the standards that are set just by walking in the door. Joseph says there's no recruiting at this level, but he knows it draws in kids who aren't afraid of the challenge.
"Knowing that the school has played at the highest level in the United States, it sometimes entices kids to come out and give it a shot," says coach Joseph.
It's easy to see how the school's tradition feeds itself.
"That's what's going on here," says Hughes. "We have this great tradition, a great sense of community pride, and they re not going to let this community down."
It's also a tradition to put the titles up on the city's water tower. Now it needs the year '15 painted there. Hughes says that will cost an estimated $1,500 to do, and the money has to be raised. The city has set up a fund called "Tiger on the Tank" just for this purpose. Hughes says people can donate to the fund by stopping by Katy City Hall. There's also hope to add the Katy High School girls' softball team's 2015 state championship to the water tower, but that involves much more painting and will cost $8,000.
"Now I know there are guys out here that will do it at nighttime for free," says Hughes jokingly. "But I don't think we want to have that happen."