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McKissick, winningest football coach ever, dies

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Friday, November 29, 2019

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John McKissick's 621 victories at South Carolina’s Summerville High School made him the nation’s winningest football coach at any level.
 
 

Charleston Post and Courier

John McKissick's 621 victories at South Carolina’s Summerville High School made him the nation’s winningest football coach at any level.

 

 

From news reports

John McKissick, whose 621 victories at South Carolina’s Summerville High made him the nation’s winningest football coach at any level, has died. He was 93.

McKissick had been in hospice care and died Thursday surrounded by his family, Dorchester County Coroner Paul Brothers said.

The longtime coach retired in 2014 after 62 seasons coaching football.

McKissick lettered in four sports at Kingstree High and graduated in 1944.

He served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II and was scheduled to be part of the invasion of Japan, which was scrapped when Japan surrendered after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A year later, McKissick married the former Joan Carter of Kingstree. They have two daughters, Debbie Call and Cindy McElveen. Joe Call, McKissick’s grandson and current head football coach at Summerville High School, confirmed McKissick’s death.

Some of McKissick’s storied biography:

• 621-155-13 record at Summerville, 1952-2014.

• Won 10 state championships, his last was in 1998.

• Coached through 12 presidential administrations – Harry Truman through Barack Obama.

• McKissick helped turn Friday nights into a community tradition for generations of grandfathers, fathers and sons.

• Sellout crowds of 10,000 were common to attend games at Memorial Stadium.

• The town postponed Halloween when a game fell on that date.

• The field was named McKissick Field in 1987.

• McKissick’s birth year is listed as 1929, according the coroner. McKissick’s bio claims his birth date as Sept. 25, 1926.

•  McKissick started his career coaching six-man football in Clarkson, N.C.

• Hired by Summerville in 1952 for $3,000 a year

• McKissick’s teams compiled a state-record 41-game winning streak – 1978 to 1980.

• Became the game’s winningest active coach in 1983.

• Broke the national record for wins, his 406th victory in 1993.

• Recorded his 500th victory in 2003, at home defeating Wando High School.

• Won his 600th game, 37-21 victory over Ashley Ridge in 2012, the most by any high school coach.

• Earned state and national coaching honors and was named to the S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

• Presented the “Order of the Palmetto” by Gov. Carroll Campbell in 1986. It is the highest award given to civilians by the state of South Carolina.

• Named to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in Kansas City in 1990.

• Named to the South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

 

 

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