John McKissick spoke at a Rotary Club meeting Tuesday. He figured people were listening.
“I didn’t see anybody asleep,” he said.
McKissick has gathered a few stories and learned a few lessons worth passing on during his 62 seasons as Summerville High School’s football coach.
Now in his 63rd, McKissick just keeps rolling along. The Green Wave opened with a 31-9 win over Providence (N.C.) High last week, McKissick’s 614th career victory.
He’s won more games than any football coach ever has at any level. He’ll turn 88 next month, and he has no idea how much longer he’ll coach.
“I’ve got nothing else to do,” he said. “I used to play a little golf, and I don’t even do that now. I used to fish a lot, and I quit that.
“So all I do is coach football, and watch football and read about football.”
In 1980, McKissick’s team lost in the Class AAAA state final to Irmo, a defeat that ended a state-record 41-game winning streak.
Last week, Christ Church opened its season with a 42-14 win over Lee Central, the Cavaliers’ 41st consecutive victory. On Friday, Christ Church will host Abbeville.
“You can’t sit there and talk numbers,” said Christ Church coach Don Frost. “You’ve just got to play the next game and go.”
“The most important game is the next game,” said McKissick. “That’s the way we looked at it. You don’t worry about winning streaks and things like that.”
Irmo ended Summerville’s streak — and two-year reign as state champion — with a 23-0 victory.
“We felt like we could win the game, but we didn’t,” McKissick said. “We didn’t play that good, and Irmo played real good. We had a lot of guys disappointed, a lot of guys emotionally upset, but I tried to calm them down and tell them it’s just another game.”
And now Christ Church has Abbeville coming to Carson Stadium.
“This is just the next game on the schedule,” Frost said. “Hopefully we’ll play well, and whatever the outcome is, the outcome is.
“There’s no pressure with the streak. Like I said before, if we go 7-7, I’ll be happy if we win the last one.”
McKissick said he’s been impressed with the job Frost and his staff have done.
“I admire somebody that can hang in there and do it like that,” said McKissick, the king of those who’ve hung in there and done it well.
“It’s a huge compliment to my kids and my coaches, because they’re the ones who prepare them and the kids are the ones who play,” said Frost.
“I have the utmost respect for that man. He’s been in it for a long time. He’s seen a lot of things come and go. For somebody to have that much longevity in coaching is amazing.”