Graced with great coaches

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Beaufort County has a pretty good track record with coaches. Some local sports fans — and even athletes themselves — have likely seen coaches who don’t do much other than direct athletes to win, but the best coaches do so much more than that.

This area is blessed to have coaches who teach more than how to win. They’re passionate about the game, which is why they’re in that line of work, but also care an awful lot about the athletes they coach.

It’s a concept that goes back as far as the famed days of Pam Pack coach J.G. “Choppy” Wagner, and perhaps even further than that. Everyone Wagner coached respected him, even viewing him as a father figure. He also did a lot for the community.

These athletic leaders help shape the area’s youth. Of course, they teach a competitive spirit, but they also show athletes how to be good sports and compete with dignity — win or lose. Priorities are straight, as one can see in the way a lot of coaches at Southside invite members of opposing teams in for pregame or postgame prayers.

It’s not just at the high school level, either. These coaches do a great deal to shape the county’s youth from a young age. Recreational coaches from the legendary Bobby Andrews to Sam Crawford have made it a life mission to teach children lessons they’ll carry with them throughout life.

Based on these criteria, Sport Sawyer is among one of the most valuable coaches in the county. With the announcement of his resignation as Washington’s football coach, Beaufort County will be without one of the best when it came to shaping the area’s youth.

As the search for his successor commences, the administration should be sure to find someone willing to put the players first like Sawyer did. A coach willing to do that should fit right in in Beaufort County.