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Midland Living Magazine

Leading Elite

written by haley ragsdale | photos by kwayu photography


To call John Norman ‘just a football player’ would be quite the understatement. The star athlete is now an entrepreneur, coach, educator and most recently a Midland City Councilman. “I always knew I wanted to work with kids, but in this new role as a councilman I am able to serve the entire community. “I am from here, I know the history, and want to help as much as I can going forward.” Helping is the key word when it comes to Norman. He coaches athletes of all ages through his athletic training facility, Norman Elite. He then picks up inside the classroom with a curriculum he wrote, developed, and subsequently taught at three Midland elementary schools. “It is based on morals and values and that is the missing piece for some students today. The curriculum is built on six basic principles: Discipline Trust, Respect, Hard Work, Integrity and Accountability. 



 


Norman, the oldest of three brothers, was born and raised in Midland. “My mentor is my father; he was a single dad and he raised the three of us.” Norman attended Goddard Junior High and Lee High School becoming a star athlete in track, football, and basketball. “I was an All American in football and was recruited by every Division One football program except the Florida Gators.” When he wasn’t playing sports, he was singing. He was part of the Fab Five, a singing group, that would perform at junior highs, clubs, and events. “So, the five of us were in this singing group, and we were also all members of the mile relay team that went to state. The other member was a triple jumper. I also ran the 300-meter hurdles and got second at the state track meet.”


Heavily recruited his senior year as one of the top prospects in Texas, Norman signed with Texas Tech and played under Spike Dykes and Mike Leach. “I decided to play at Texas Tech because I wanted my dad to be able to come to all of my games.”  During his standout career at Tech, Norman played safety, punt returner and linebacker. Football is in the blood of the Norman family. John’s younger brother, Josh, played at Oklahoma University. He won a National Championship during his time at OU. His youngest brother, Joseph, also played at Texas Tech. “When I was a senior, Texas Tech played OU and all three of us were on the field at the same time. The newspaper headline was ‘The Normans In Norman.’



 “When I was a senior, Texas Tech played OU and all three of us were on the field at the same time. The newspaper headline was ‘The Normans In Norman.’

-John Norman-



After college, Norman went to the Philadelphia Eagles training camp. “I was there for four or five months and I made it to the very last cut. It was such an amazing learning opportunity, with Coach Andy Reid.” Norman spent the next several years playing Arena Football from Florida to Texas. He also got married and had a son.  After his football career came to an end, he worked a variety of sales jobs but always came back to football. “With Josh’s OU connections I would always coach in the summer at football camps in Oklahoma and that’s how I got into coaching in Arizona.” Norman coached at Arizona Western in Yuma Arizona. During his tenure, he coached the now Kansas City Chiefs great running back, Damien Williams.


In 2008, oil was booming, and Norman, now divorced, moved back to Midland to help his dad run his pumping business. “I had met Denise years earlier when I was playing for the Odessa Roughnecks and she was a cheerleader, I ran into her again at an oil show. Six months later were dating and three months later were engaged and got married.” John and his brother Josh came up with the concept of Norman Elite, a complete training facility for athletes of all sports and ages. “We won a grant through UTPB and the Midland Development Corporation entrepreneurship challenge and started Norman Elite three years ago.”



 

Today, John and Denise run the day to day operations of Norman Elite and are parents to seven-year-old Braylen. John’s older son graduated high school in May. Norman also coaches four youth flag football teams.  “I love working with kids and have a love for football and athletic training. Playing at the highest level and being able to pass that down-to be able to mentor kids and say I used to live on the same street as you do now, and I made it to the NFL.” 3C’s are the core values of Norman Elite training and curriculum- Character building, positively influencing the Community and creating academic/ life Champions. “All of these principles help you be successful in life not just sports. In your life, in your job, your family.” Last school year, Norman taught his curriculum at General Franks, Bunche and Milam Elementary. “I hope to have it in all schools in Midland eventually. COVID got in the way of us finishing the first year but hopefully we can pick back up in the fall.”



 “3C’s are the core values of Norman Elite training and curriculum- Character building, positively influencing the Community and creating academic/ life Champions.”

 -John Norman-


Norman’s newest role is that of City Councilman for District 2. Norman was sworn in just before the pandemic and the oil downturn.  “I really feel like the timing of this was a God thing." I hope it opened people’s eyes.” In his short time as City Councilman, Norman has established an advisory committee for his constituents in District 2 to bring problems and issues to him. He has also developed an economic opportunity zone to incentivize development in his district. Already, a new affordable housing development is underway on Lamesa and the Loop. Norman has also started a police advisory committee to help relations between the community and Midland police.



 

Norman, as a leader of the Black community, hopes to make a lasting impact during this uncertain time. “I really hope to bring everyone to the table to talk about their concerns, their grievances and for others to understand that these problems exist. I hope to help the healing process and change history.” As a leader, mentor, entrepreneur, and now public official…’just a football player’ doesn’t even come close to describing John Norman. His legacy and impact on the Midland community is undoubtedly just getting started. †

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