Clover’s Jackson, Lybrand honored

news@enquirerherald.comFebruary 15, 2013 

— Retired Clover High School coaching mentor Robert Jackson and former Blue Eagle head basketball coach Dudley Lybrand were recognized last week for their contributions to the school’s athletic department.

Jackson and Lybrand, basketball coaching cohorts in recent years, were honored during a special ceremony between the Clover and York varsity basketball games in Blue Eagle Country.

Jackson, whose association with Blue Eagle athletics spans 41 years, coached basketball, football and baseball at CHS. “I coached all three sports some years,” he said in an interview after the ceremony.

He said the high school sports scene has changed through the years.

“We used to go from one sport to the next and that was about it,” said Jackson. “Now, there’s the offseason commitment — conditioning, weight lifting, year-round preparations. You have to keep up with the other schools.”

Jackson said high school basketball has changed.

“You can’t just play street ball,” he said. “You have to bring structure to the game.”

The Blue Eagles were structured when Jackson coached alongside Lybrand and former head basketball coach Bennie Bennett.

Lybrand, who stepped down as head coach of the Blue Eagles following the 2011-12 season and serves as associate athletic director, is appreciative of Jackson’s loyalty to the program

“Though coach Jackson was retired, he helped me for several years,” Lybrand said. “We had discussions and varying opinions behind closed doors. But we were on the same page when it came to what was best for the kids, and they knew it.”

Lybrand was known as a game-planner and master tactician, changing the style of play to fit the personnel.

He had 203 career wins, 181 of which were at CHS. The other 22 wins were at Gilbert High School, where he coached prior to assuming the Blue Eagle post.

In addition to his responsibilities as associate AD, Lybrand teaches three classes a day.

“I still enjoy teaching,” he said. “Teaching and coaching are different entities.”

While coaching, Lybrand said he spent more time with someone else’s children than his own.

“I would leave home at 7 a.m. three or four days a week and not see the kids again until 7 a.m. the next day,” he noted. “I have a daughter and son playing sports and can watch them.”

Lybrand said Ron Wright, Marty Woolbright and Bennett have influenced his career at CHS.

“I could go to any of them for advice, as well as coach Jackson,” said Lybrand. “Coach Woolbright gave me my first coaching job.”

Jackson, who admits last week’s special recognition came as a surprise, said he enjoyed coaching with Lybrand and Bennett.

“I didn’t know they were going to recognize me,” he said. “I feel honored to be recognized for my association with Clover High School athletics. “It means a lot to me.”

Jackson likes where the Blue Eagle basketball program is headed.

“The program is in good hands with coach Bailey Jackson,” he noted.

Jackson admits watching the game from the stands is a new experience for him.

“Watching the game from the stands is different after 41 years in the coaching profession,” the CHS coaching loyalist said after observing his first home game this season.

As he completes his trip down memory lane, Jackson said coaching high school kids is more than wins and losses.

“It’s about molding lives,” he said.

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