South Carolina high school football coach: 62 years, 613 wins and counting

Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:33am EST
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By Harriet McLeod

SUMMERVILLE, South Carolina (Reuters) - With 613 career wins under his belt, the coach of a small-town South Carolina high school football team has blazed a victory trail unmatched at any level of the American sport.

The record of John McKissick, 87, easily beats that of Florida State University's Bobby Bowden, who with 377 victories is the coach with the most wins at a major college football program. Coach Don Shula leads the National Football League with 347 career wins.

In terms of high school football, McKissick has had more career wins than any other coach in the country, a distinction he first earned in 1993.

Last Friday, his team at Summerville High School notched another playoff victory for McKissick, who after 62 seasons and 10 state championship titles has no plans to retire.

"I don't want to retire because I don't want to die," he said before a recent game.

The white-haired coach, who sports a large, Super Bowl-type gold ring he was awarded last year for his 600th career victory, gets a lift to games from a friend and recently had his pacemaker replaced.

But he still puts in 40-hour weeks, guiding a third generation of athletes, and says he has not missed a game since he became coach of the Green Wave football program in 1952.

"He has a hard work ethic," said running back Amadi Becoate, 17. "We have some long practices."   Continued...

Summerville High School athletic director and head football coach John McKissick watches pre-game activities at Memorial Stadium in Summerville, South Carolina November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Randall Hill