Tom Southall: Outstanding coaches
I would like to take this opportunity to let the community of Steamboat know how truly fortunate they are to have two outstanding teachers and coaches working with their sons and daughters at Steamboat Springs High School. Coach Mark Drake and coach Kelly Meek are such assets to Steamboat and icons of high school athletics in the state of Colorado.
When I decided to change careers from public accounting to public education, Drake and Meek were two of the reasons I wanted to give back to the community and work with young men and women in the academic and athletic arenas. I am truly honored as a teacher and coach to call Drake and Meek my peers.
Drake and Meek have always been held in high esteem by the coaches of Colorado. I am president of the Colorado High School Coaches Association, and both coaches have been awarded the highest award given by their respective sport’s coaches. Drake was awarded the Ed Lesar award last summer by the football coaches and Meek has been awarded the Tom Sutak award in basketball.
I was saddened to read the recent article about Drake’s resignation. To think that the career of one of the top people in high school athletics was wrapping up this year makes me wish I had gotten into teaching and coaching earlier and had been able to work alongside Drake.
People always think that the world of business is full of political maneuvering and personal agendas. I have found out, much to my chagrin, that public education is in many ways even more petty in dealing with personnel issues. Too often, many years of dedicated service are pushed aside to make room for the newest thing to come down the road. One administrator’s pet project can become the next administrator’s pet rock. To have outlasted so many administrators and have held true to one’s beliefs about what is good in high school activities, is one way to gauge the value someone has given to the school and community.
The work Drake has given to the school and community cannot be measured in wins and losses. While his statistics in that category are top-notch, I don’t feel that the number of championships won or lost is a measure of a person’s true worth. What Drake has given to me is immeasurable.
Thoughts of high school run from friends and teachers to coaches and families. Many of my dearest memories are of Drake serving as my confirmation father; godfather to my oldest son, Jordan; reading scripture passages at my wedding; and being an outstanding coach and teacher. We were fortunate to have won many championships during my term at Steamboat Springs High School. As my teammates and I have grown older and reminisced about the “good old days,” we realize how fortunate we are to have had the opportunity to be a Steamboat Sailor and be associated with such outstanding people.
Although I don’t make it home to Steamboat often, I keep in touch with the happenings of the Steamboat area and always check the box scores in the Denver papers (still frustrating as ever to try to get information out of the Denver papers) to see how the Sailors fared in their most recent contests.
Watching Steamboat teams participate in competition on this side of the mountains is always a treat. The fan support, especially from students, makes me proud to be a Sailor.
I have always believed that teams reflect the character of their coaches. To watch a Sailor football or basketball team has always been an opportunity to watch hard-working and respectful teams. While these games have not always resulted in championships, the effort and commitment put in by Steamboat teams is always a pleasure to watch.
Class of 1981
Member of the 1979 Colorado
‘AA’ State Football Championship
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Time seemed to stop for Matthew Engle for a few seconds after he heard crunching metal last week while he was in downtown Steamboat Springs.