At tonight's basketball game at Hendersonville High School, the new gym will be dedicated to Coach Jim Pardue. That will be one of the most well-deserved and appropriate things that's happened in our town in a LONG time.
Of course, Coach Pardue led the Bearcats to state championships; he excelled as a coach of basketball, baseball, and track; he taught the classroom courses coaches had to teach in ADDITION to their coaching responsibilities; and he helped school administration. He did, in other words, whatever a good TEACHER, a good COACH, and an all-around GOOD employee, supporter, and cheerleader DOES for his or her school...they do whatever NEEDS to be done, for the sake of a GOOD education for our youngsters.
Coach came out of what is now Western Carolina University....before it WAS a university, back in the days when it was pretty much a teacher's college...that thankfully trained and provided a lot of good teachers for the mountains of Western North Carolina. He came to Hendersonville to teach and coach...and met Rosie Shealy, a proud product of Clemson niversity....who began her career teaching biology at HHS. As her student, and his, and as a LESS THAN STELLAR runner and jumper on his track team...I remember well their courtship and marriage was the "talk" of the school and of the "town" too....and not in any derogatory or joking or gossipy way...not AT ALL...they were good looking, smart, dedicated, and popular....made a great couple...set a superb example...and we ALL wished them well.
It was a PROUD day when Coach Jim Pardue led the Bearcats to a statewide championship. this radio station was in the cable V business then, too....and we sent our crew down to video-tape the game....and a friendly state trooper sped the tape, in his patrol car, back to Hendersonville so local folks could watch the game on TV....later....the same night we "WON the big game".
Coach Pardue was a BIG man...tall in stature, and pure "class" through and through. That deep, basey voice of his rang clear with authority...but his big, broad smile gave away "the secret" EVERY time....that his heart was even bigger than he was.
Coach didn't retire for a long time...and like a lot of us, "kept his oot in the door" at HHS, doing what he loved best, and helping TEACH our kids. I remember just a FEW years ago, when I had tried "early" retirement, Coach convinced me to become a volunteer PAPER GRADER to help some over-worked teachers at Hendersonville High School grade papers. I confess I "gave out" before Coach did.
For a lot of us, our best memories of Coach Jim Pardue were made in the old "rock" gym at HHS...in all of ITS "glory days"...young and happy days of ballgames, championships, physical education, sock-hops, growing up, and grand and lorious "Junior-Senior" proms.But even though it's an all NEW gym being dedicted tonight, and an all new time, with all new bright and shiney young faces...learning, competing, trying to excel....NOTHING could be more appropriate than dedicating the NEW gym to Coach Jim Pardue. For it was Jim Pardue...in the way he coached his teams, taught his classes, loved his family, and lived his life....that SET the high and most worthwhile standards of excellence, befitting every youngster who'll work out, compete, learn and just TRY in that new gym, as long as it stands.Yep...it's the RIGHT thing to do...and it'll make us all proud....to see HIS name....in letters as big and bold as he was above the door, each time we walk into the new gym at Hendersonville High School.