March 20, 2014
Time flies and things change. Time flies and some things don’t change.
Fifty-four years ago, as a young man right out of college, I had the good fortune to become a teacher at Clarkton, one of the best things ever to happen to me.
The Clarkton community was populated with good, solid, hardworking, honest people, and the school was led by an outstanding principal and populated with strong staff members.
One of those staff members was Coach Harold Ingram. He coached every sport that Clarkton had as I recall—boys’ and girls’ basketball, football, and baseball, and he did it in an exemplary manner.
In his own life, he modeled character, commitment, consistency in effort and achievement, honesty and integrity, hard work, dedication, and high uncompromising standards of conduct both as a teacher and as a coach.
Unlike some coaches, his attitude was not one of winning at any cost. Nor was it sports first and academics somewhere down the line.
To the contrary, he expected — in fact, demanded — that his players perform in the classroom commensurate with their ability. Also, he expected and demanded that they behave appropriately. Failure to meet these expectations meant that one couldn’t play on any of his teams.
The athletes and their parents respected and supported his high standards, and the principal and staff members applauded them as well.
He was fair and impartial, and I doubt that anyone could find one single student who would accuse him of being otherwise.
He put his classroom teaching above his coaching, and he made sure his students knew the difference between the classroom and the ball field.
Harold Ingram was an excellent coach, but he was more than a coach. He was a great example in his community as a coach and teacher and also as a principal. He was a leader in his church and a great family man.
As a teacher for eight years and principal for 24 years myself, I saw no one in the profession whom I admired and respected any more than I did Coach Ingram. He was an inspiration to me in my early years at Clarkton and a gentleman whom I greatly admired and respected.
On Feb. 6, Coach Ingram passed away, but his influence will live as long as those who knew him live.
Yes, time flies and some things change. Among the things that don’t change are the qualities that made Coach Harold Ingram such a great person in this life.
Coach Ingram was a winner, and those who knew him are winners for having known him.
To me, the danger in extolling the virtues of such a person as Coach Ingram lies not in lavishing praise too generously; rather, it is the danger of leaving out justifiable praise.
He will be sorely missed at home, at church, and in the Clarkton community.
Dennis R. Kendrick