Archived Story

‘Coach em up’

Published 2:42pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Editor:

As you know, Hartselle lost a good man last week – Coach Earl Warren.

How do you best describe Coach? Fine leader, perpetually young, patient optimist, a constant doer, unyielding worker, zealous evangelist. It seems easy to come up with the words and phrases.

I would like to share a couple of experiences which provide vivid glimpses of Coach’s character:

Several years ago, several men from Hartselle used to go to Limestone Prison and study the Bible with the inmates. Earl was one of those men. For a long time, we were able to go in the administrative lock-up dorm and teach inmates who were in solitary confinement. The only way to teach them was to stand at their cell door and teach through a 10 inch opening covered by steel mesh. The inmate and the teacher would stand together holding their Bibles and discussing the word. I recall seeing Earl and several other older men time after time standing on that hard concrete with sore backs and knees and teaching for long periods of time.

On a couple of the recent campaigns on whether to legalize liquor sales here, Coach would always provide sage advice. One of his sayings that still rings in my head is his phrase “Coach em up”. He frequently said that when he coached football he tried not to get on to a player in front of other players. He said he would “Coach em up” in front of other players and then pull them aside if he needed to be more stern. I have used his advice on more than one occasion.

I want to thank Earl and Chris Warren for their strong encouragement and friendship over the past few years. The two of you have certainly made a lasting impact on Hartselle.

Jeff Johnson

Families for a Safe Hartselle

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