A Winning Formula | Averion And Jalen Hurts Spur Further Demystification Of Black Fatherhood

Jalen and Averion Hurts are a model father-son dynamic for the NFL world: athlete and coach. His father, a football coach at Channelview High School in the Houston metropolitan region, coached Jalen to excellence throughout his son’s high school career. The father-as-trainer dynamic is most prominent in boxing, but the Hurts family is spotlighting it in professional football as Jalen Hurts heads to his first Super Bowl.

The Hurts father-son athletic dynamic also largely dispels the myth of the Black absentee father and other harmful Black familial tropes.

A Super Black Super Bowl

The enthusiasm around Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, the first where two Black quarterbacks are facing each other, is at an all-time high. Coupled with the fact that the game occurs during Black History Month and the two stars both have athletically inclined Black patriarchs, the cipher is complete. Patrick Mahomes is the son of former Major League baseball player Pat Mahomes. Not to mention Rihanna is performing at halftime.

This season began with 11 Black QBs starting in Week 1. The finale comes with an equally historic matchup. All the cultural nuances of the matchup are not lost on Averion.

“I think it’s huge,” said Averion Hurts to ABC6 Philadelphia. “We understand how it was and how it’s been for a long time and the narratives that used to be out there on what African Americans could do at the quarterback position.”

However, a young future Super Bowl-caliber quarterback Jalen Hurts was soaking up the game by having a coach literally in his home daily. Although for the young Hurts, it came with benefits, Jalen had a healthy measure of pressure as well.

“I think being a coach’s kid just means you’re around football, you’re around a field house, or whatever that sport is all the time,” Averion Hurts continued. “When you’re a coach’s kid, it’s a little extra stuff when you’re growing up because people are gonna think you’re gonna get favoritism and things like that because your dad’s the coach. … That puts you learning to be mature at a faster rate at a younger age.”

Like Father, Like Son

Averion Hurts graduated in 1986 from the high school he would make his future coaching home. Per his Channelview bio, he attended Howard Payne University on a football and track scholarship, graduating in 1990 with a bachelor’s in marketing. As a player, he earned All-Conference honors as a senior offensive lineman and was a six-time All-American in track and field. However, in 1994, a knee injury curbed his professional football career, and he began working his way through the regional coaching ranks of his local Texas area.

He and his wife’s three children went to Channelview, with his firstborn, Averion Jr. being his first test of the coaching-the-son dynamic.

“Not as hard with him [Jalen] because I learned with his brother,” Averion Sr. continued. “You know, I had his older brother first, so that one was hard because I didn’t really know how to handle it. I had some other coaches that coach their sons, and they were like you’ve got to enjoy it, and it’s kind of hard, especially when you’re playing quarterback. I always wanted a lineman, but we were unfortunate with that.”

His misfortune became the fortune of many institutions that thrived with Hurts as their gunslinger. As a senior, he passed 2,384 yards with 26 touchdown passes and rushed for 1,391 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Hurts was a second-team all-district selection as a sophomore and was named the District 21-6A Overall MVP as a junior during his high school playing years. A four-star recruit, Hurts was ranked among the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2016 and Texas A&M’s coveted choice after the then-starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, left.

The Hurts Factor

Hurts ultimately committed to the University of Alabama in 2015, leading his team to win the 2016 SEC Championship over the Florida Gators. The accolades that followed were supreme: SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year, and graced the cover of the 2016 Sports Illustrated College Football Playoff magazine. During the 2017 season, Hurts led the Crimson Tide to a 13–1 season, where they played Clemson in the 2018 Sugar Bowl, and Hurts became the offensive MVP.

In 2019, Hurts transferred to the University of Oklahoma for his final year of eligibility and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to current top NFL quarterback Joe Burrow. After a performance in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, where he threw for 121 yards and had 39 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in his first NFC Championship victory, Hurts is Super Bowl-bound.

“That’s just him by nature. He is a very driven, very determined person,” Averion continued. “Whatever he sets his mind to, he locks in on it and he goes for it,” said Averion Hurts. “He’s very steadfast in what he believes in and he doesn’t allow any outside factors to deter him.”

Jalen Hurts the product of his coaching environment, helmed by his father.

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