Enter Into Thy Rest, Thou Joyful Pilgrim

Coach Roy passed away yesterday after a prolonged illness, he was sixty-nine years old.

What to say?

I have been struggling with this ever since I received the news last night. I suppose I should merely speak the facts, and let the true portrait emerge for itself…

He drove my siblings and I to school in the mornings, on the rural school-bus route. He taught me how to tie a “Four-in-Hand” and a “Windsor” knot. He taught me how to drive safely in rush-hour traffic. He admonished me (and my peers) to always conduct ourselves with class and sincerity… and, foolishly rebellious boys though we were, still we would actually listen – indeed, his softest touch commanded obedience in generations of young men that passed through the halls of the Overton Independent School District.

He came to Overton as a result of the public school integration during the 1960s – and during a time of no small racial tension, displayed a quiet grace that quickly endeared him to his students, his peers, and the community. He would stay for nearly forty years as an educator of young people and molder of young men. He coached every Varsity and junior Varsity sport, in addition to teaching Anatomy/Physiology (Health), and Driver`s Education in the High School – and overseeing Physical Education for the younger grades.

His influence upon me as an athlete is abundant…

In Football, he taught me a wonderfully archaic and academic approach to the sport. Meat and potatoes. Nuts and bolts. Old school. Fundamentals. By the book. Blood, sweat, and tears. Proper tackling technique, how to anticipate Offensive blocking patterns, and the most efficient methods for evading a charging Lineman. Swim move. Forearm slap. Though never a head coach, he coached the Linemen and ran the Defense for decades. Despite the ebb and flow of talent or coaching regimes, Overton High School always fielded disciplined and well-conditioned athletes under his careful tutelage.

In Basketball he ever-stressed the importance of rigorous technique and team chemistry – playing as a unit of five, rather than one-on-one. This sort of approach was a hallmark for every skill and art he taught – be it writing a research paper or running a 400-meter relay.

He was a friend and mentor, who seldom had to punish his students (in the conventional sense) in lieu of a sober conversation. Indeed, it seemed a stern rebuke from him was far more severe than any corporal punishment – and more effective. As wild and unruly a young man as I was, I would tuck in my shirt, sit up straight, and pay attention to Coach Roy.

He was family man. Known for his dutiful affection towards his wife of many years and the children of his house, each growing strong in character and virtue – not too mention the special relationship he kept with his former students. I was glad to be able to introduce him to my children and to show him that I turned out decent.

I can still remember the radiant smile upon his broad face and the warm embrace when I shared my testimony of Faith with him – which brings me to my next point…

Overarching all of this praise, he was a Godly man. A longtime Deacon of New Hope Baptist Church, who was never bashful about his Faith in the classroom and lived his life before others in the example of Jesus Christ.

Whether it was leading his players before and after athletic contests in Prayer, teaching them about the integrity of good sportsmanship, the virtues of endurance or even making sure we all went to Church on Sunday – he never forgot his role and responsibilities as a minister to others.

Farewell, Coach Chester Roy, you will be missed by us all – may our LORD`s Angels guide you to a well-deserved Heavenly rest…


2 thoughts on “Enter Into Thy Rest, Thou Joyful Pilgrim

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