A football family is a generic term.
It can also take on very personal tones.
Members of that family are not just kids who flex in the weight room, or ones who hunker down pawing and snorting at the line of scrimmage. They are not just the coach calling plays from the press box, or the handful of guys who are dragging the down markers to and fro on the sidelines. They are not even only the folks who occupy the coaches’ office, a cluttered environment adorned with damp towels, sweaty T-shirts and footballs used long past their expiration dates.
If it was high school football and the school was Royal Oak Kimball and later, Royal Oak High, the football family was also defined by head coach Terry Powers’ mom and dad; his two brothers; his wife and their two sons.
Walton’s Mountain or a football field in Royal Oak? The Huxtables or the Powers? They were all pretty synonymous for a whole lot of seasons.
“My mom and dad, along with my two brothers, came to all of our games for the first 15 years or so that I was the head coach,” said Powers. “They’d climb into a van and drive across the state from Kalamazoo. That was their Friday night.”
There will definitely be some family representation at the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Saturday at the Ann Arbor Sheraton.
University of Michigan coach Brady Hoke is the guest speaker. The evening gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour. Dinner will be served an hour later and the induction ceremony starts at 7:30.
All of the honored coaches will give a speech, and as of Friday afternoon, Powers was still penning his thoughts.
Coaches with a minimum of 20 years on the sidelines and 100 wins are eligible to be inducted.
“I’ve got a lot of people to thank,” he said, smiling.
Powers coached football for 35 years, the majority of those at Kimball. He stepped down as the varsity coach at Royal Oak High five seasons ago. He started his career at Kalamazoo Central, then moved onto Detroit Catholic Central. He then went to Kimball, and is still teaching art at Royal Oak High School.
Among his many accomplishments are four-time MHSFCA Coach of the Year, The Daily Tribune Coach of the Year, and Coach of the Year for both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News. He won 186 games as a varsity coach.
Also being inducted Saturday are Tim Baechler (Canton), Phil Bareis (Chelsea), Paul Davis (Potterville), Pat Egan (Yale), James Galvin (East Grand Rapids), Tom Holden (Fruitport), Scott McNitt (Clinton), Robert Newvine (Macomb Dakota), Glen Noble (Hopkins), Matt Prisk (Traverse City West), Joe Reddinger (North Dickinson), Scot Shaw (Three Rivers) and Joe Zomerlei (South Christian).
Chances are, most if not all of the coaches will have family members in attendance. That will certainly be the case for Powers.
His brothers and sister will be there, along with his wife and their two sons, Patrick and Matthew. Sadly, his dad, Bob, has been having heart issues and cannot come, and his mom, Delores, died of cancer a few years ago.
Just thinking about the family support brought Powers close to tears.
“My wife, Carolyn, was always my most loyal fan,” he said. “That’s amazing, since when we started dating, she thought the number of points scored on a touchdown had something to do with the stance.
“My parents and my brothers would drive across the state every Friday to get to our games,” he said. “Mom would fix the sandwiches and they would eat on their way. My dad would be on the sidelines with our two sons when they were younger. “
Later, Terry Powers coached his two sons.
“That was a very special time. That was one of the highlights of my coaching career,” he said. “Why did I get into coaching? My dad coached me all my life. I know how much I got out of football, and I wanted to pass that on. There are so many life lessons to be learned.”
One of them is there is nothing more important than family. You can take that literally.