DALLAS (AP) — There are few things Troy Aikman hasn't done in the sport of football.
The Dallas Morning News reports the 52-year-old has three Super Bowl rings, six Pro Bowl appearances, a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and spots in the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame. He was also the No. 1 pick in the 1989 NFL draft and is Fox's top NFL color commentator.
The only thing missing from his résumé? Coaching.
"I'd always wanted to help out with high school (football) here," Aikman recently said on The Ticket sports radio station. "I'd reached out to different programs, including (Episcopal School of Dallas) where my kids go, and they had said, 'Yeah, we'd love to have you help out.' But then I looked at my schedule with broadcasting, and it just hasn't been easy to do."
This year, though, the Cowboys legend decided to give it a shot as the quarterbacks coach at ESD. And it's paid dividends for senior quarterback Preston Morway, who has already taken a massive leap in his final season with the Eagles.
"It's really cool having someone who has basically experienced everything you can in football and gone through all that," Morway said. "He knows pretty much everything there is to know about the game."
Aikman, whose 12-year playing career ended in 2000, got the ESD opportunity somewhat by happenstance.
ESD's former quarterbacks coach, NFL journeyman Seneca Wallace, left the program to take the same position at John Paul II. The Eagles had experience with other former pro players as coaches — ex-49ers safety Chet Brooks worked with the defense in recent years — but none with the cachet of Aikman.
So, coach Richard Williams asked Aikman's stepson, Val Mooty, a wide receiver at ESD, if the Super Bowl XXVII MVP would be interested in a new role on the sidelines as a part-time assistant.
Mooty said the idea had already been ruminating in his stepdad's head.
"I called him immediately," Williams said. "I didn't even wait a second — got him on the phone and said, 'Hey man, we could use your help this season.'"
There wasn't even a second of consideration. Aikman got right in, working with Morway and the Eagles' other quarterbacks during all of their preseason camp.
While the University Interscholastic League prohibits coaches who aren't full-time teachers in a school's district, private schools aren't subject to the same set of rules.
That allows Aikman to get out on the field with ESD, although he isn't there every day.
Aikman aims to make practices Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as Friday night games, working around his regular broadcasting schedule for Fox, which includes Thursday Night Football as well as one game each Sunday.
But the smallest of nuggets from a Hall of Famer, even if infrequent, can do wonders for a teenage quarterback with room to grow.
"Troy's goal was not to try to change the way Preston throws the ball or change his form or anything," Williams said. "It was just him learning how to take advantage of his weapons and better decision-making in terms of protecting the ball and not making careless, forced throws that in the past have resulted in interceptions."
Fittingly, one of the first moments in which Morway was able to take what he'd learned from Aikman was one of those turnovers that had plagued him in years past.
"It was fourth-and-15, and instead of getting sacked or throwing it away, I just threw it up and they ended up intercepting it," Morway said. "But they lost 25 yards, so that was a situational thing that I learned."
Even with that calculated pick, Morway at the time had thrown 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He's on pace to surpass his yardage total from last season (1,231 through four games) and his completion percentage has been hovering around 63%, a step up from last year's mark of 58.5%.
It's no shocker that improved quarterback play has helped the Eagles.
"I've enjoyed the time with (Preston)," Aikman said. "I'd be really surprised if he doesn't get an opportunity to go on and play somewhere."
For Aikman, his coaching debut has been about more than just doing something else in football.
He has a pair of teenage daughters, who also attend ESD, but it wasn't until he remarried in 2017 that Aikman had sons who played his sport.
Now he's got a whole team of sons.
The only question is who's having more fun: the first-time coach or the awestruck teenagers getting to rub shoulders with an NFL legend.
"The chance to be around those guys and their friends has been really, really enjoyable for me," Aikman said. "I've gotten more out of it than these kids."
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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com