They are the mentors of high school athletes who are also our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and our nephews.
They can be tough, even brutal, as they seek to mold young bodies and minds into athletic machines, ready for competition on the gridiron, the basketball court, the track or the field.
Some have brought fame to Floyd County: Allen Cantrell, the basketball whiz who produced state champions out of both boys and girls teams; Winifred Beale, the football coach who produces winners against schools with more students, more talent to choose from and more resources; Wes Starkey, who produced a number of winning teams before he retired; and Skip Bishop, also now retired, with championship golfers.
Such coaches set high standards and produce pressure for those of other sports. We expect our teams to be in the playoffs but we continue to support even when efforts fall short.
Each of these men or women go by the same name: Coach.
Long-time newspaperman, photographer and videographer who still shoots photos and covers government and courts for a newspaper, shoots video for TV and documentary use and owns web sites like Blue Ridge Muse, Capitol Hill Blue and American Newsreel.