South Carolina high school football coach, 86, wins No. 600
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (AP) — High school coach John McKissick earned his 600th career victory Friday night, and Summerville’s players celebrated by carrying the 86-year-old to midfield on their shoulders.
McKissick is in his 61st season with the Green Wave. He set the preps record with his 406th win in 1993 and collected No. 500 in 2003.
McKissick was swarmed by players and coaches once time ran out in the 37-21 win over local rival Ashley Ridge.
He got a kiss and a hug from his wife of 60 years, Joan, and lifted up his great-granddaughter Emma Kate. “Ain’t she pretty?” he said with smile.
McKissick was still teaching all the way to the very end of his latest milestone victory. With less than 10 seconds to go, he called timeout and reminded his players to act like sportsmen when the game was over. It’s a lesson he’s shared over and over since arriving at Summerville in 1952.
“I feel good for the kids,” McKissick said. “They can tell everybody they were part of the 600th. I think they’ll be proud of that.”
McKissick has led the Green Wave to 10 state championships on the way to a 600-147-13 record. He’s got no plans to retire. He says he feels healthy enough to keep coaching and enjoys having a purpose in life to teach young men the game he loves.
Dozens of former players and coaches were in the crowd. Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker played and coached for McKissick at Summerville. “We’re real proud of you, Coach,” Walker said when the two embraced after the game.
McKissick entered the fall with 594 wins and didn’t want chasing the milestone to become a distraction. The Green Wave then got off to a 2-4 start and it looked as if the landmark win might have to wait until next season, but they rallied with four straight victories.
“It feels good to have it behind us,” McKissick said.
Can he win 700?
“If I’m still around, we might. I never did talk about 600, but if you want to talk about 700, I’ll talk about it,” he said.