WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM) – For nearly 36 years “AHMO” has been the battle cry of Wylie High School.
“We say it when we are ahead,” said Wylie High School Principal Virdie Montgomery. “We say it when we are behind. It has all the meaning in the world to us. It’s who we are.”
Friday night the story of AHMO’s origin will be told on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Guest comedian Tom Dreesen is expected to lead the studio audience in an AHMO chant after he learned for the very first time just a week ago that one of his jokes is a part of Texas high school football lore.
The legend of AHMO began in 1977.
Wylie High School was scheduled to play Breckenridge High School, the top team in the state, in a regional play-off game.
Former Wylie High School head football coach Jerry Schaffer said no one gave his team a chance to win.
“Everyone was picking them to beat us, including me,” he said. “I was desperate for any motivational advantage that I might have.”
Schaffer found that motivation while watching the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast television show one night.
On the show comedian Tom Dreesen told a joke about growing up in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.
“They had a word there that they use that you didn’t hear anywhere else in the country, AHMO – AHMO kick your butt,” said Dreesen.
Looking back Schaffer said he doesn’t know why it caught his attention, but he told the joke to his players and that week every time the team broke the huddle instead of “break”, they yelled “AHMO”.
On game day, Wylie High School found itself down by four with one second left on the clock.
On the final play, Wylie quarterback Ronnie Cross threw a thirty-yard touchdown pass to win the game 12-10.
“It was magic,” said Cross. “AHMO is born really right then. When we got back to town that night and it was all over town – written everywhere.”
The 1977 Wylie High School team went on to win the school’s only state football title.
These days AHMO is all over campus and is written on all the school’s athletic uniforms.
The school’s booster club has even trademarked the word.
It’s become a tradition for students to take pictures with the word AHMO. Each class tries to outdo the other by taking AHMO pictures in front of world landmarks or with celebrities and professional athletes.
But for a comedian living in Los Angeles, AHMO was still just a punch-line until a Wylie teacher a week ago sent him a message on Facebook.
It was the first time Dreesen had ever heard about Wylie High School using his joke for inspiration.
“That was the part that was so hard for me to believe that they’ve been using it for all those years and I just heard about it,” he said. “I’m flattered. You would have thought it would have been ‘win one for the Gipper or ‘whatever you do – don’t give up’, but if AHMO fits your school criteria then ‘AMHO’ going to like it.”
Dreesen, who has never been to Wylie, said he plans to attend one of the school’s home football games next year.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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