Today’s story comes to us from my son, Jeff King, as he fondly recalls many of the great football coaches in Auburn. No matter what sport you played for the Auburn Maroons, I know many of you will be able to relate to today’s story.
Although injuries and COVID have taken their toll on our football team this year, Auburn is scheduled to have one last game this season at ESM on Thursday, Oct. 21, and a win may place them in the sectionals. We’ll be rooting for you guys!
Thanks, Jeff, and to all of our terrific coaches, past and present, for being GREAT Legends of Auburn and for the positive impact you had on so many young lives!
I share this story in honor of the great football Coaches I had during my years of playing the game, and for the gentlemen I was lucky enough to play the game with. It’s the greatest team sport there is, and when you put it all together and everyone is in sync on a Friday night under the lights at Holland Stadium, in front of the city you play for, and you walk away with a win, and walk up those stairs to the locker room and the people in your hometown are slapping you on your helmet and shoulder pads, screaming at you 'great job!' ... it’s a feeling I can’t justify with words, but it's special, folks!
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So to my Pop Warner Coaches, Tony Musso, Coach Crarry, and the late great Big John Humphrey, thank you for introducing us to the game and instilling the fundamentals and the beginning of our love for the game. To my freshman coaches, Coach Steve Snow and Joe Mushock, thank you for helping us to the next level and starting the process of picking our future positions where we would be able to display whatever gifts that God had blessed us with and define us as players. To my JV coaches, Tony Locastro and Tom Blair, for allowing us to become a team. We had all played together for a period of time before we fell into your guys laps, and we had that one beautiful season in 1982. That was probably the most fun year I ever had playing the game. It all came together that year: eight wins and one loss only. We played Henninger the same day the varsity team played them, and tied to win the CNY championship. That game still makes me angry, but it was without a doubt, a great year. Thanks for making the game fun!!
Last but not least, varsity coaches, the late great Legendary Bob Adams, also Greg Behuniak and Tom Navarro. (I always loved having a few beers with you, Coach, later on in life when we would see each other out!) To the late great Nick Guerrera trainer/ equipment manager, thank you for keeping us protected and healthy and for teaching your son to kick the ball like a mule. Last but certainly not least, Coach Jeff Ianari! One of the most decent, kind individuals anybody could be blessed to meet in life! Coaches, it was a privilege to have played for all of you, and you have my utmost respect and gratitude! For the guys I was fortunate enough to play with, there are no words besides love you all! To our beautiful and talented cheerleaders, thank you for standing out there on cold and rainy nights cheering your hearts out! You were the best! Go Maroons/ Maroons Forever!
Ormie King's column appears Sundays in The Citizen and he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.