Longtime WC assistant Graham retires
[6/20/04]Rick Graham always took care of others, now he has a chance to take of himself.
For 12 years at Warren Central, Graham was the school’s athletic trainer. Through the years, he attended countless football, basketball, soccer and baseball games. Always attentive, he made sure injured players received the proper medical attention on the field.
He also taught biology at Warren Central for 29 years helping his students learn about the human body.
But for the past year, Graham, 53, has had thoughts of retirement dancing in his head. Once the days got warmer and the end of the school year came closer, he decided to act upon them.
Graham turned in his retirement papers, ending his long tenure at Warren Central.
And now he’s finally got some time of his own.
“It was kind of a thing I wanted to do,” Graham said. “I thought about myself a little bit. I’ve worked pretty long hours, and it gets old.”
Graham’s departure creates a second opening on the Vikings’ football staff, following the retirement of head coach Robert Morgan and the promotion of longtime assistant Curtis Brewer.
“We’re one of the few schools that’s got an athletic trainer. It’s going to be a major loss with him, not only as coaching, but what he did for the kids,” said Brewer, adding that Graham did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to coordinate with doctors, players and insurance companies.
“Plus you’re losing a person you’ve been coaching and working with, another one, for over 20 years. It’s a big thing to have to adjust to.”
Vicksburg Warren athletics director Lum Wright already has started a search for Graham’s replacement.
“We’ve got to re-do the staff and re-do the numbers,” Wright said. “(Brewer’s) got to have his coaches.”
Brewer said he may look to the junior high coaching ranks to promote a new coach, but nothing has been decided yet.
“They’re the ones that make our job possible, the junior high coaches. They’ve got a lot of responsibility,” Brewer said. “When they’ve been there awhile, most of them are ready. And when they come, most of them can work right into the varsity.”
Brewer, however, added that a balance must be made for the teaching aspect.
“Everybody looks at us in the community as coaches, but everything you do is tied back to the classroom,” he said.
Meanwhile, Graham will be relaxing and enjoying his new-found free time. On Friday, he even spent part of the day gardening.
Graham said he plans to visit his two daughters who live out of state, but beyond that, who knows?
“I’ve got a couple of things that I could do, and I haven’t decided on any of them yet,” he said. “I’m just going to take some time off and be with my family.”