Stevens’ commitment to Vicksburg went beyond football field

Published 1:01 am Sunday, January 8, 2012

This letter is long overdue. Maybe I put off writing it because I was hoping that by the end of football season Coach Alonzo Stevens would change his mind and decide to stay on as head football coach of the Vicksburg High School Gators. Maybe I put off writing this letter because I didn’t want to cry.

Before I sat down at my typewriter I purchased an extra large box of tissues. They are within arms reach as I type this note. My friend, Bob Morrison, stated very eloquently in a recent Post all of the wonderful traits that make Coach Stevens the fine man that he is. I could never improve upon his musings and I will not attempt to do that here.

But I will provide a loud echo. Coach Stevens is a fine man — a finer man you’ll never meet. I have known Coach Stevens personally since 1975 when he was a young assistant football coach, basketball coach, and if memory serves correctly, track coach at Vicksburg Junior High. He has always been an easy man to like. Warm, affable, personable and genuinely caring are only a few words that describe him.

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Although he could have portrayed a swagger and an arrogance with his position and accomplishments he never has. He has remained true to himself and those around him. Coach Stevens has touched the lives of so many. The countless young people whom he mentored and coached are not the only beneficiaries of his generous spirit. His contemporaries and peers, those who are senior to him, and those who are junior to him have all been graced by his sincerity and friendship.

What an honor it is to be able to count Alonzo Stevens as a friend! I’m so glad that I do. The Vicksburg Post’s Coach of the Year award was well-deserved and was certainly not unexpected. Congratulations, Coach Stevens.

But more importantly, thank you, Coach Stevens, for just being you.

As I close this letter of gratitude, I am happy to say that I have only used two tissues. This was not a hard letter to write; the words came easy and fast. I didn’t have time to cry — too much.

Oh, and by the way, Coach Stevens, you still owe me a trip to LD’s Kitchen.

Sylvia Gurtowski