My high school football coach, Alton “Tunney” Brooks, will be buried today. In addition to coaching for over 40 years he was an all-star athlete in high school, a star on the baseball and basketball teams at Wake Forest University and was a member of America’s first Pan American baseball team.
At the visitation yesterday there were dozens of men whose lives Coach Brooks had a strong hand in molding.
In addition to my experience playing for him I worked as a lifeguard at a pool he managed each summer.
In the summer of 1972 I saw him dive off a 3-meter board and do something I can’t describe. It looked like some sort of Olympic dive and when he entered the water he hardly made a splash. He was 45-years old.
I remember watching him get out of the pool and thought, “We might have to get older but we don’t have to get old.”
That thought has been a guiding force in my life for the last 40 years. Coaches and teachers can’t ask for a more important impact than that.
Thank you, Coach. Now, it’s time to come out of the game and take a rest.