Retired coach Ed McQuary recently published a book reflecting on his 47 years as a coach. In those seasons, he won over 330 games, was Oregon Coach of the Year and won a big school state championship. His proudest accomplishment is when ex-players meet him with a hug and a “Hi, Coach.”
going to the Amazon or Kindle books website.
A Joy to Coach, A Lifelong Friend
I coached Frank many years ago in St. Helens, Oregon. He was from a good family with strong beliefs. He was what I prefer to as quite a “headstrong” young man with aspirations of being a terrific tight end. I needed another tackle and saw, in Frank, just the guy to fill the position. Of course Frank would have nothing to do with the idea and I realized some strong negotiations were in order.
The idea I had in mind was presented to Frank and he bought into it. The idea was simple enough. Back then, the tackle eligible pass was still legal and I gave my word to Frank I would call his pass play at least once a game if he would play weakside tackle. We simply flopped the split end to the tight end side, making Frank an eligible pass receiver and threw a play-action pass to him. This play resulted in many first downs and touchdowns. In fact, as memory serves me, Frank led the team in touchdown passes that season.
I will also remember Frank for his uniform. He had the cleanest practice pants and jersey in the history of football! Every Monday, he would show up for practice in this super bright uniform. His mother had some secret recipe in getting that uniform sparkling white. Of course, the old coach had a plan for this. Through the warm-up drills and cals, I would usually find a way to position Frank over a large mud puddle. He often reminds me of this and only now do we really laugh about it together.
Frank was, simply put, quite round as a teenager. Though he resembled the “Pillsbury Dough Boy”, he was very nimble of foot. I always thought his best sport would be basketball because of his quick feet and natural athletic abilities. Frank played football, basketball, and baseball throughout high school, achieving all-league status in both football and basketball. His competitiveness made up for any lack of skills and his demeanor was a coaches’ joy. He was always upbeat with a big smile and always exhibited a profound respectfulness to me.
Frank went on to college, playing football and baseball. While Frank was off to college, I coached his younger brother, Joe, who was also a very good player. I thought of Frank often, wondering what he would do with his life. Not to my surprise, Frank became a teacher and coach. What happened next is what an old coach dreams of. Frank joined the coaching staff with me at Lakeridge. I can’t explain the joy I had for those years we coached together. He became a tremendous addition to our staff and we forged a close adult relationship that continues to this day. We shared the joy of winning a state championship while coaching together.
Frank has become quite the teacher and coach at a school nearby. He is currently the defensive coordinator at one of the states’ premier football schools, Lake Oswego High School, and yet, he still finds time to coach middle school basketball and track. One of the greatest joys of my life was seeing Frank coach my granddaughter in basketball and track. He has such a way with teenagers that they love him to death. Frank is the perfect example why coaching is such a great endeavor and he is a perfect example of why I have loved coaching young people all these years.
When I am able to see Frank, he always says, “Hi, coach, how’s it going?” I know why I’ve spent my adult life what I do.