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The Midnight Toker

Joined: 08/04/2004 Posts: 6672
Likes: 4951


A good educator and football coach.


I'm going to share my experience to help me with the grief of losing a friend and colleague. It's lengthy, so don't feel compelled to read. But, I want to show the importance and effect that coaches can have on kids and a community. I was good friends with this man and all his staff as we learned a lot about each other and how to coach and help kids.

Randy Penn was Head FB coach at Englewood HS from 1989-2010. He coached track even longer. He passed away in September of 2020 due to a stroke (he was 71 years old). We were not able to have a service for him until last Saturday, when about 800 people showed up at Randy Penn Field (formerly Pirate Stadium) at Englewood HS. It was a celebration of the positivity, optimism and love he brought to his family, the school and the community. He grew up in Englewood, went to HS there, on to UNC and then taught/coached at Englewood most of his career.

Randy asked me to help with football in 1989. The Pirates went 0-9, 0-10 the two previous years and then he took over. He was already a respected Track coach in the building.

We had 24 kids on the first day and had to play 4A that year. We got in the halls and got enough kids to get a JV team. There was no youth program in Englewood and the middle schools had no program. We had to change all of that. In that '89 season, we were outscored 455-24 in an 0-10 season. The highlight of the season came in the last game. Broomfield had just scored on us to make it 50 something to 0. We ran a reverse on the KO and scored a TD. Our kids went nuts because we executed something perfectly. We were losing big, but got excited over one specific accomplishment. It was a momentary big deal.

Randy put together a great staff and within 2 years we went 9-2. All of a sudden we had close to 100 kids coming out each year and were able to play freshmen, JV and V schedules. We even played 4/5 freshmen B games each year. It was also a huge competitive boost when we were appropriately moved into 3A. We became regulars in the playoffs over the next 15 years, getting to the semi-finals 3 times playing against good teams. The community support grew and we had big crowds. We didn't have D1 talent, but we had many kids who went on to play DII and DIII.

Randy was a great coach, but what I most admired him for was this: He was incredible with kids with special needs and he integrated them into the football games as fans.

Remember when Chatfield had a certain girl kicker that was plastered all over the news and well, you know the rest? At the same time we had a female ATHLETE from the girls soccer team that was a very good kicker for us and her brother was her backup (he was a very good WR). She made 95% of extra points and most of her medium FGs. Randy didn't want the circus and said we wouldn't publicize it so as to not detract from the team. She went on to play DII soccer and she was there at the celebration. There were many former players, coaches and parents in attendance.

His greatest thrill in coaching? He got to coach his 3 daughters in track and his 2 grandsons in football.

This man retired from a long coaching career and became mayor of Englewood for a few years and helping the community in many ways. He was a gardener and used his green thumb abilities to take extra produce to food banks.

He was probably a democrat, but was basically conservative in that he believed in doing your own hard work, expecting hard work, but expected all of us to be helping others at the same time. We never discussed politics because it was just too much fun coaching and helping kids to worry about that stuff.

I was primarily a basketball coach over all my years coaching, but my time spent coaching freshmen football and working with Randy Penn and the other guys on that staff was a highlight of my education years. We really built something from nothing.

Thanks NetBuffs for letting me present this.

[Post edited by The Midnight Toker at 08/26/2021 6:24PM]

Posted: 08/26/2021 at 6:19PM



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Current Thread:
 
  
A good educator and football coach. -- The Midnight Toker 08/26/2021 6:19PM
  Wonderful post, heartfelt and genuine.** -- Go2Bowl 08/27/2021 2:03PM
  Thank you for that - very special -- Bufflandia 08/26/2021 10:57PM
  Very cool story, thanks for sharing. -- EBN 08/26/2021 7:55PM
  A good educator and football coach. -- buffalo30 08/26/2021 7:48PM
  Probably the best post on this board in years -- CUKev 08/26/2021 7:46PM
  Much love -- BuffLuv 08/26/2021 7:33PM
  Good rags to riches story. ** -- BuffaloMoe 08/26/2021 7:12PM
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