Kessel was an inspiration
As a youngster living in Shepherdstown and attending local schools, including Shepherd College, all of us were blessed with numerous teachers and coaches, who played a vital role in our lives. A “wannabe athlete” who dreamed of playing basketball one day at Shepherd, I got a different “calling” my senior year at Shepherdstown High School. Having been hurt as a freshman (foot) and sophomore (shoulder), in the days when grades 9-12 all practiced and played on the same team, I skipped football my junior year. Coach Jimmy Kessel came to me during spring baseball season (he was our baseball coach too) and asked me if I’d try football my senior year. He said ‘if you play, you’ve got a chance to be our quarterback’ and he, along with my best friend, Ricky Wright, worked with me on “passing the football” that summer. Imagine having never played a game and receiving the encouragement to try out for quarterback. He gave me the courage to do something I never thought possible. That’s what great coaches and good teachers and band directors do. To work hard, take chances, and most importantly “pick yourself up when you get knocked down!” Oh, we only won about three games that year, but many, many times I was appreciative and thankful for Coach Kessel, Coach Osbourn and my teammates for allowing me to be their quarterback. Only wish I had played better.