Saturday, June 18, 2011


One of a Kind Father

by Lynne Brandon

My father was born on August 6, 1932. He entered the world during the depression when times were tough. This rude start to life helped him to survive the cruelty in the Korean War as a young man of only 18. Later he became a conqueror on the football field when he became a high school football coach, the great passion of his life, aside from his wife and three girls.

He is still called "The Coach," and in Surry County he is referred to as "The Godfather of football," a label he laughed at but took, nonetheless. He coached many great all-star athletes in Florida and North Carolina during his long career, went to coaching clinics that Bobby Bowden attended, and was mentioned in Bear Bryant's book. It was always about the love of the sport and not money or fame. He turned down more lucrative, prestigious coaching positions to return home to Mt. Airy, NC, to care for ailing parents. He was a good son, and did the right thing.

The tall, imposing man with the soft heart of boy, and charismatic smile that always charmed, found his way in life by coaching, track, swimming, tennis, and basketball. But no sport, captured him like football and teaching young boys to do their best on the field. He was respected and kids thought he was cool. He didn't care then or now what people thought of him. He just did what he thought was right and stood up for principles. Sometimes he fared worse for stating his opinions but that was his way.

Dad is a still a voracious reader, and he opened the world of books to his daughters with our first library cards. He likes quirky, outrageous movies that make him laugh, good food, watching sporting events, and time spent with family. He inspires supreme loyalty in his faithful dog, Brutus, a Great Pyrenees, who follows his every step and rides shotgun on the back of his truck.

My father did everything with gusto in life and still has the same spunk and fire, even if toned done a bit. He still exercises, keeps up on current events, and enjoys life with my mother in the quiet countryside. He will be 79 this year and I hope that the best is still to come for the wonderful father I look up to and call, "dad."

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