You Can Do More: Jeff Floyd 10/31
By Jeff Floyd Former Truman High School Head Coach
It is getting to be playoff time for Missouri high school football. It is always exciting and memorable. One of my fondest memories was the first year we made the playoffs at Osceola High School.
Val Bennet was the long time principal at Osceola High School. Val was a great principal, and one of the most loving, caring people you could ever meet. He loved the outdoors (fishing, hunting, etc), loved basketball, and although he did not dislike football, he just didn’t know as much about it as his other loves.
When I first called Mr. Bennet to say that I was interested in the head football coaching position that was open, his first question was, “Do you like to fish?” When I said, “No, but if it is important for the job, I can learn,” he responded that it wasn’t a needed skill, but with their location on Truman Lake, that was a draw for many candidates. This conversation would prove to be prescient.
I was hired… my first head coaching position… and we struggled mightily the first season. But the kids, community and support were great. The next two seasons we turned it around and went 9-1 and qualified for the playoffs both seasons…. a new concept for the school.
The first year we made the playoffs our draw was Springfield Greenwood High School, coached by the legendary Paul “Moon” Mullins. The game was scheduled for Saturday afternoon on the campus of Missouri State University. I was excited, happy and proud… probably a little too much hubris.
On Monday morning of the week prior to our game I had a note in my school mailbox from Val Bennet, saying he would like for me to stop by his office later that day… he wanted to talk with me about the playoff game on Saturday. I immediately conjured up visions of what the conversation would be about… banquet? parade? charter bus? commemorative T-shirts?
I went to Val’s office for the meeting.
He said “Well, Jeff, I wanted to talk to you about the game on Saturday.”
“Yes, what about?” I responded
(yes… yes… here it comes… parade??)
“Yes, about the game. Saturday is the opening day of deer season. That is a pretty important day for a lot of fathers and sons… do you think the state would reschedule that game for another day?”
Deflated…. I quickly assured Val that, no, the state would not reschedule a playoff game because of deer season.
Val eventually became as excited about the playoff game as dear season, and by the next year, already had it on his calendar at the start of the year, along with the opening dear season date.
My takeaway years later:
My view of events… this included… is pretty myopic… there are other things important to people besides football… and they can all go hand in hand. It does not have to be either/ or… it can be AND.
On a side note – the quarterback of those Osceola playoff teams is back as their head coach. They are 9-1 and poised to make a run in the Class 1 postseason. Good luck to Paul Carney and the 2013 Indians.
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