Earwood: Great coach, great man

As most of your readers are aware, Coach Mike Earwood will be the new head football coach at Our Lady of Mercy after spending 12 seasons at the helm at Starr’s Mill, amassing an exceptional record of 90-48, a .652 winning percentage. My wife and I are just two of what I would guess would be hundreds of parents whose sons were fortunate to have played under his direction.

While Coach Earwood’s exceptional knowledge of the game and coaching speaks for itself, any one whose son played for Coach knows that his impact went way beyond their understanding of the system or how to be very, very good at their position. Coach Earwood was much more than that.

Coach Earwood taught his players the importance of many life lessons as they toiled through the heat and sweat of a week of three-a-day practices in early August in Covington, showed up every morning all year long for weight lifting at 7 a.m., and practiced every afternoon during the season, often times into the evening for those numerous years where we went deep into the fall playoffs.

Coach taught his players the value of hard work, putting in your time and effort, paying your dues, and then your time would come. Each and every year it did come for those young men who from their freshman to senior year showed their commitment and persistence. They know who they are as they will forever have that bond that Coach Earwood built amongst them.

Life is not always easy. As we know, sports, especially football, builds incredible character and teaches those who stay the course how much they can really do when they’ve thought they could press on no further.

It has been lessons such as those that we will all miss Coach Earwood instilling in our sons during those great high school years. In his own way, he always got the most out of the young men who proudly, for the rest of their lives, will be able to say, “I played for Coach Earwood.”

We recently visited our son Joseph, who is in his senior year at the University of Georgia. He is one of those many young men who have the greatest respect for Coach Earwood, having played for him during his career at Starr’s Mill.

When we advised Joe that Coach Earwood was transitioning to a new school, there was a moment of silence, almost disbelief. His eyes widened just like they used to when Coach would speak to the team on the 50-yard line after a win, congratulating them on their efforts and praising them for their hard work. Then, as was tradition, he would “bring them in” and the seniors would begin the team cheer, ”We run this show!”

With his eyes still opened wide, Joe asked, “What are you talking about? Where is he going?” It was clear that anything relating to Coach Earwood was still very important to yet another of his former players.

I’m sure there are many of you that when you told your son the news you received the same reaction. Coach instilled character in them that will be forever lasting. They loved and respected their Coach.

Thanks to Coach Earwood for all he so masterfully taught our sons. We’ll miss you and always admire you, Coach. You ran a great show.

God bless you!

Ray & Nontie Chaudoin

Peachtree City, Ga.