Archived Story

Write Again … Coach Harding was a ‘winner’

Published 9:26pm Monday, November 26, 2012

Those of you who didn’t know Clyde Harding — Coach Clyde Harding — missed something special.
Coach Harding was a big man. He had a, well, let’s say a prominent midsection. His booming voice, when on the athletic fields and courts, was unmistakable. You could hear the coach in the next county.
Chocowinity was his domain, and those young people his passion. And, yes, “passion” really is the right word when talking about this facet of his character.
Coach Harding was a truly generous man. There’s no way to accurately estimate how much of his own money he spent on athletic shoes, ball gloves, and other sports paraphernalia during his life. All for the kids. His many other acts of kindness and largesse will never be known, except by those (who were kids then) who were the beneficiaries of such generosity by a man with a very big heart.
The coach spent many a year teaching and coaching at the old Chocowinity High School. Winning games was always a challenge at such a small school. A real challenge.
This isn’t to say he didn’t have some winning teams — in several different sports — during his career. It was just that sustaining consistent winners was a very, very difficult challenge for the proud Chocowinity Indians.
Coach Harding had perspective, though. In today’s parlance we would say “he got it.”
One Saturday morning during football season, the coach came to the Washington Daily News to drop off the information about the game the night before, so the sports scribes could get that into the afternoon paper. In those days, only the Washington Pam Pack got on-site coverage, while the coaches at the county schools were responsible for getting the info to the paper. That’s how it worked in those days. There would be occasional exceptions to this practice.
Well. That season Clyde’s Indians weren’t doing too well. To be more specific, they were mired in a long losing streak.
One of the Daily News employees lived in Chocowinity, and he was a die-hard Indians fan.
He was waiting for the coach that morning.
“Well, coach,” said the we-won’t-name-him fellow, “it looks like we lost another one.”
With no hesitation whatsoever, in his booming voice Coach Harding replied, “You can’t win ’em all!”
That was Clyde Harding.
Be assured, though, that Coach Harding was a winner.
In every way.
APROPOS — “A man never stands so tall, as when he stoops to help a child.”
— Edgar Guest

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