David Sloan headshot

David Sloan

Lane High School

David Sloan: I think he’s right on the money.  I mean, I don’t think he treated the Kent Merritts of the world any different than he treated some of the other guys that didn’t play.  You knew, and you’d heard stories before you started at Lane High School about this, and there was a quitters list in the locker room, and you did not want your name on that quitters list.  I mean, it was just the way it was.  Don’t ask me what drove those of us that survived it to get through it, but I bet if you ask down to a man everybody that came through there at that time period, they would tell you they would not do it any differently, that they have no regrets looking back.  And I coached a little bit of high school football at Albemarle 10 or 12 years ago, and I used to stand back there.  They had unlimited water breaks.  They had scheduled water breaks.  They didn’t take salt tablets, that I’m aware of.  They didn’t drink their water out of their helmets.  There were just things that he jokes about off camera, but there were things he would say that if he were coaching today the way he coached then, he would be in jail.  And he’s probably right.  But it was a thing — it was like, must be like a Marine that makes it through basic training, and that’s the way I always looked at it.  And when the chips were down, that’s what a team is, and that’s what he did.  He built a team, and I’ll never forget a speech he gave playing James Monroe in Fredericksburg, and we were losing in a season where we were ranked number one in the state preseason, and we ended up losing to the state champion, I think, seven to six or something like that, at Lane, and ended up being seven and three, which is still not bad, but we had a really, really good team, a talented team, and we were losing to James Monroe, ’cause it was the last game of the year, and nobody really...  At that point a lot of guys had packed it in, and...  I can’t describe it to you.  You remember the TV detective Columbo, and he wore a wrinkled raincoat, you know, khaki, wrinkled raincoat?  And I will never, ever forget — and I’m still just a sophomore; I’m playing, but I’m still just a sophomore on a team with these giants, these legends, the way I looked at ’em — and he walked, paced back and forth in that locker room, in that raincoat.  And I can’t describe it to you, other than Coach Theodose had a way of his hands, he had a way of having his hands, and he had those hands going back and forth.  And he gave us a half time motivational speech, and I think we came out in the second half and pretty much annihilated James Monroe.  So he had a great motivation, you know...

Phyllis Leffler: Strategy.

David Sloan: He was done with us.  I mean, you know, basically everybody could’ve said, “Look, we don’t have to see you...”  The seniors could say, “We don’t have to see you ever again if we don’t want to.”  The rest of us knew we had to, probably.  But he was fair, and he was tough, and he was all the things that a coach needed to be in that stretch of time.