Since 1953, Julian “Coach” Pressly has been an Odessa fixture. During an October 2021 interview, Coach stated he hoped Odessans would remember his slogan, “Life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.” And, what an impact he made!
Born January 18, 1924, in Fort Worth, Texas, Coach was the son of Josh and Fern Pressly. He graduated high school from Fort Worth Technical High in 1942 before attending college at Allen Academy/Texas A & M and McMurray College. Following his marriage to Edith G. Williams in April 1948, he completed his master’s in education from McMurray in 1952.
Prior to his coaching career, Pressly played semi-professional baseball for 7 years. In 1953, he joined the coaching staff at Odessa High School and in 1965 he became the first baseball coach at Odessa College. His successful coaching career led to his induction into both the National Western Jr. College Baseball Hall of Fame (2011) and the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2016). He was honored in 1996 when the Odessa High baseball field was renamed to JE “Coach” Pressly Field.
He served his country as a US Marine from 1943-1946.
Based on his early experiences with the Fort Worth Boys Club, he became a Founding Board Member of the Odessa Boys Club. Continuing to serve his community, he was elected as Ector County Commissioner from 1973-1984 during which time he was appointed to chair the development of the first Senior Citizens Building. Then in 1986-1998, he was elected as the Justice of Peace for Precinct 3. From 2002-2022, he served on the Odessa College Board of Trustees. Coach was also actively involved with several local, state, and national organizations: Traveler’s Protective Association (National President in 1983); Kiwanis International (District Lt. Governor in 1968), Odessa Shrine Club and Odessa Scottish Rites (Past Worshipful Master at Andy Vaughn in 2004 and Odessa 955 in 2005). He was also a member of the American Legion 430 and The Texas A & M Letterman’s Association. He was an active member in the Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang for over 60 years. For almost 70 years, he was a proud member of First Baptist Church in Odessa.
He is survived by his four children, Julie Kupper of Odessa, TX; Elaine Coulson of Stone Mountain, GA; Debbie Henderson, of Odessa, TX; and John Pressly of Longview; 8 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Additional survivors include his sister, Martha Wilson of Houston and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by Edith, his wife of 73 years; his parents; and his 3 brothers (Wayne, Donald and Jimmy).
The family would like to thank the following organizations for their continued support for Coach during his successful walk through this life; the staff at Layman-Lusk-Sanchez Veterans Home; Ector County Athletic Department as well as his “fans” at Odessa High; Odessa College; Odessa Chuck Wagon and the Odessa Masonic Lodges.
Honorariums for his service to Odessa High can be given to the Odessa High Baseball Booster Club in care of Coach Couch or Ms. Dawson.