A Coach’s Legacy
Article by Christian Pierce
Coach Andy Olds wears three wristbands on his right wrist. One of them says climb the mountain, another says P.A.C.T. for Kings Junior High, and the last one says LTA. The third wristband is the most important.
Olds’ wife knew this was going to be her husband’s last season coaching. Olds knew he didn’t want anyone else to know his future, except for his wife. He did not want to take attention away from the team. He wanted everyone to focus on the Senior leaders and the rest of team and what they were doing. So, Olds and his wife kept it their secret. LTA means Last Time Around.
“I wore this band to remind me that things I would get to do, would be the last time. It would be the last time we would have winter workouts, it would be the last time we would have a mulch sale [ it would] be the last time we [would] walk down the hill together for the first time,[it would] be the last Homecoming, the last senior’s final game. You know there will be a last time to play on that field and I’ll never get to coach on that field again. This wristband really made me slow down and remind me of all the really good times that I’m just going to have to just understand it’s not going to be a part of my life, It will be part of my life, but I’ll have a different seat,” explains Coach Olds.
Coach Andy Olds wasn’t really sure until last January that it was going to be his last time with the Kings Knights football program.
“People always say you’re going to know when it’s time. That’s the question coaches always ask. When should I be a head coach? You’ll know when you’re ready. When should I leave coaching? You’ll know when you’re ready. Well I didn’t know until January of last year that this is going to be the last time around that’s where we coined the phrase LTA. Last Time Around.”
Even though Olds is now retired, he mentioned how he made a pledge to the 2019 seniors that he would stick with them until the end of May. Olds plans to help players get recruited if they want to play football in college, find them a place to play if they want to, or simply help them find a school to go to. Olds has left a huge impact on Kings Football and the Kings community.
A community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Kings High School is not only a community, It is more than that. It is a family. In each and every win and each and every loss, love and support was there for the Knights football team. That love showed more than ever in the last loss for the Knights in the playoffs against Anderson on November 2nd, 2018. After the game was over, almost every student and athlete stood in emotion hugging and crying with their fellow classmates after the tough loss for the Knights. Through the tears it was a celebration for a fantastic season and another ECC conference championship for the Knights.
The Kings Knights offensive coordinator Alex Garvin explained what it is like seeing the student section and all the fans in the stands cheering on and supporting the team.
“High school sports in general bring a community together unlike anything else. High school Football and High School Basketball draw a little bit bigger of a crowd, on Friday nights. They really create an atmosphere that is hard to duplicate. To look up in the stands, or to see students that really care a lot about their school, and a community that cares a lot about the product that is on the field on Friday nights, is really encouraging to the unity that is created behind a Friday night football game. Just being able to be a part of that and seeing the excitement when Twizzlers go flying and the cow bells are ringing and the different themed student sections and how into it the kids get. I think all of those things are not necessarily about the win or the loss on the field they’re about bringing a community together and having something that unites them and I think football does that really well here.”
To have a tight knit community like Kings High school it takes a lot of respect, compassion, and love for others. The Seniors on the team witnessed this first hand with the impact coach Olds had on the community.
“He’s meant a ton. He’s taught me about leadership and how to be a great teammate, he’s come over to my house to meet with me and give me personal advice on things that were going on in life and he’s just been a great mentor,” said senior linebacker, Jake Stylski.
“He means a lot to all the seniors. After doing this for twenty years, he’s still a players coach. Players still like to interact with him. At the beginning of the season, he had the seniors over to his house and he asked us what we wanted to do because this is our team. He asked us what changes he should make, and what changes we should make, and I thought that was pretty cool that he was willing to sit there and listen to a bunch of high schoolers that were gonna be seniors this year. He’s been doing this for so long that he was able to listen, and not only did he listen, but he came and made actual changes after what we had said that night. So it was pretty cool. He really does care about his players,” said senior offensive lineman, James Schnur.
“For me, Coach Olds has been like a father figure. I spend a lot of time around him. We have a lot of conversations and stuff like that. He’s always a good person, he is always asking how you are doing. If you talk to him, it’s never really about football, it’s more so about your life. He’s always willing to help out, whether it’s football related or not ,” senior offensive linemen, Zack Egan explained.
Coach Old’s legacy lingers with former players as well.
“He’s meant a ton to me. I played for him for four years, I graduated from Kings in 2012. He meant the world to me I looked up to him ever since I was a little kid coming around and watching football when my brother and sister were in high school. He’s meant a ton to me, not only as a role model for someone I like to try to model myself after, but you know picking his brain and learning leadership tactics from him as I’ve come into the professional setting. He has been a great mentor and a great person for me to try to model myself after,” said Alex Rice, former wide receiver for the Knights.
Principal Doug Leist says, “ Coach Olds has brought a level of consistency to the football program. Because of his influence, conference titles are expected from this program year in and year out. I also love what he does for the community. Mulch sales are a big hit for everyone. He will be incredibly missed by so many and his legacy will live on as the program continues to strive!”