Legendary Summerville High coach John McKissick could announce his retirement this week, according to multiple media reports.
McKissick, who is 88, has coached the Green Wave since 1952. He has won 620 games – more games than any football coach ever has at any level. He has won 10 state championships; was National Coach of the Year in 1980; and was named in 1990 to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
ABC News 4, which is based in Mount Pleasant, reported that McKissick will retire sometime before the 2015 season. McKissick told ABC News 4 and the Charleston Post & Courier that nothing is certain, though he is finalizing plans and could hold a press conference as early as this week.
McKissick in 2012 earned career victory No. 600 in his 61st season coaching at Summerville. What has kept McKissick going so long as Summerville’s coach?
“When you get a certain age, there isn’t much else you want to do,” McKissick said in 2012. “I like getting up and coming to work, so I guess I will keep doing that as long as I can do it and as long as they will have me.”
McKissick grew up in Kingstree and graduated from Presbyterian College before spending one season coaching 6-man football (these wins are not included in his total) in Clarkton, N.C., before taking the Summerville job in 1952.
He’s been a pillar of the community that he often references as the Little Flowertown in the Pines. The football field at Summerville is named after him, and there is a 5-foot tall statue of him carved in stone outside the stadium.
“All I’ve ever thought about since I started coaching is to try and win that first game,” he said. “Then win the next and next and whatever it adds up to, that’s good. I’ve never looked ahead to anything. You have to have a purpose in life. But, sure, I think about retirement, but that’s about it.”
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier previously said this of what McKissick has accomplished.
“He’s a picture of health,” Spurrier said. “That’s the first thing you say about a guy that’s in his 80s now and still coaching. It’s sort of neat that he’s coached players’ sons and grandsons. He may be on great grandkids, I don’t know. But coach McKissick is a wonderful guy. He’s got a wonderful disposition, gets along with everybody. He’s a good coach, too.”