Before the scoreboard goes dark

The 2005-06 school year is about to come to an end. Seniors are prepping for final (and I do mean final) exams, teachers are backing off the hot coffee at Starbucks and focusing more on the iced caffe’ mocha, and the most obvious signals of the approaching summer… please say hello to our old friends humidity and allergies.

But as we say goodbye to another school year, I believe it would be most appropriate to honor the coaches who have given our sons and daughters the unconditional love, endless encouragement, and life tools for the journey and adventure that awaits them.
Here’s to the men and women who give their blood, sweat and tears on the front line of our future.

It’s not an easy thing to follow a legend; most fail. Can you imagine the pressure of following a legend that also happens to be your dad? No thanks. However, the report card is in at Sandy Creek and Chip Walker has graduated as head of the class! In his first year as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, Chip has done an outstanding job. Expect the athletes at Sandy Creek to be in good hands for a long time to come.

Chip is a great young head coach as well as an able administrator. Best of all, he’s a mentor and role model.

You do not have to look far to find another outstanding young AD here in Fayette County. Steve Cole took the reigns at McIntosh and in year one has brought vision and enthusiasm and has proven he can make the hard decisions. It’s never easy to navigate your way through transition let alone supervise numerous head coaching changes in the first year. Steve has done it without flinching and it appears he may have positioned the mean green to sell some football tickets next fall. All hail the Chief!

When you think of Landmark Christian School you usually think of Bill Thorn, Kenny Dallas, Barb Mason, or Jim Waller. These coaches are all heavy weights who have made their mark in the GHSA.

However, I’ve been most impressed this year with one of our assistant coaches who could easily be a successful head coach in any classification…in two sports! Roby Ross is a Landmark graduate. In fact, he was a member of the first War Eagle graduating class. Once he received his college degree he headed right back to Landmark and has been here serving faithfully ever since.

Coach Ross is an excellent football coach. Kenny Dallas will tell you in no uncertain terms that Roby Ross is a big reason the War Eagles have not lost a region football game in four years. However, Roby may even be a better track coach. I’ve had two of my own children involved in Landmark’s track this season and consequently I’ve spent a lot of time around Coach Ross. He is a master teacher when it comes to track and field. Best of all, he loves our kids with fervor, stays hours after practices working with individuals and is so positive in his methods.
Thanks Roby for making a huge difference in the lives of kids, mine included.

There are so many others…Barry Davis, Bryan Holley, Walt Ellison, Mike Hanie, Dottie Licciardi, Brent Moseley, Greg Shiflett, Mark Williamson, Nick Bellantoni, Toby Black, Steve Hale, Kristy Lewis, Scott Schmitt, Wendy Weaver, Jana Miller, Marcia Clark, Robert Townsend, Ben Thacker, Jim Bailey, Cheryl Laporte, Jill Joiner, Scott Smith, Paul Collins, Brett Garvin, Eddy Householder, Tara Ware, Lisa Pearce, Heather Allen, Brent Jackson, Frank Dixon, Wes Hardin, Kelly Baker, Lisa Arnold, Tony Caruso, Cynthia Launay Fallasse, Sharon Shaw, Mark Waxmonsky Clay Cushman, Fred Gilkeson, Daniel Wesche, Marcus Denard and Dennis Wilson.

Heck, let’s throw in my two favorite guys at Velocity, Anthony Connelly and David Hamil. These afore-mentioned coaches are just the tip of the ice berg in terms of the number of local coaches making a difference in the lives of our kids. We are very blessed.

And finally, I’d like to encourage our community to give thanks where thanks is (over)due. Don’t let graduation come and go this May without taking the time to personally thank the coaches who have made a difference in the life of your most prized possession(s).

My daughter will graduate with the class of 2006. Where do I begin to say thank you to all those frontline heroes who have impacted Kelsey’s life forever? My heart is overflowing with love and appreciation.

I will remember these coaches the rest of my life…so will Kelsey.

So should we all. And never forget, the greatest reward a coach can receive in his or her career is not a championship – but knowing they made a difference.

Before the scoreboard goes dark, let them know.

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