story by Cindy Burbage photos by Nelson LaPorte
The late Billy Graham stated, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.”
Imagine the influence a person can make coaching young people over a span of twelve years. Meet long time Pooler resident of twenty-seven years, Chuck Morgan who has been coaching at the Pooler Recreation Department since 2006. He and his wife, Allison have been married for nineteen years; they have a sixteen-year-old son, Ashton, along with two Siberian Huskies, Zeus and Hera.
Chuck began coaching when his son, Ashton, began playing T-ball. “And I have not looked back,” he gleamed. As a child, the west Chatham native played football for Port Wentworth and soccer for Groves while in high school. He is currently coaching football and baseball for the Pooler Recreation Department and will possibly change up his game next season. “Football is still undecided at this time. As for baseball, I am currently one of the coaches for the 12U Pooler Allstar team and our season is still going on. My plan for next baseball season is to move down to an 8U team and move up with the kids each year. This way I can hopefully work with some of the same kids where I can help build that character and confidence the players need on and off the field,” the coach revealed.
With twelve years of coaching an array of ages under his belt, there are sure to be a few epic noteworthy nostalgias. Although he does not have one unforgettable moment, Coach Chuck proudly reminisced, “I don’t have one specific memorable moment because there are too many. However, I do have a memorable season. In 2013, my son moved up to 12-U football and from the beginning, there were many changes. This year would be the first that the football program would split a group by age. There was an all 11-year-old team and the other was an all 12 year old team. As a coach, when you see your new team for the first time, you always look to the older players to take on that leadership role and show the younger ones the rope. This particular year, we didn’t have that. While most of the players had played for several years, this would be their first year playing in the 12-U league. Myself and other coaches were worried about the age and size of our team. Here we were, an all 11-year-old team, about to play against kids that were a year or more older than them. Going into this season, we had to start fresh on all positions as most of these players had never played together. So, our expectations were not very high; our goal was to stay safe and play our hardest. It was very clear after our first game that this team was here to win and did not want to be defined by their age. Long story short, we went on to win all of our games but one, and we won the 12-U CAA championship.”
Continuing to coach and be a part of the rec department even after your child has moved on takes dedication and passion. Those that display these characteristics are proven good role models for their players and peers. What is Chuck Morgan’s drive to remain part of the team? He humbly responded, “I am asked this question every season because my son is too old for rec ball. And my answer is simple, I do it for the children. Every child needs someone they can look up to, someone who will encourage them every time they walk on a field. Each player, no matter what sport, needs to build character and confidence and I hope that I am building some of that. A lot of children have the ability to play some kind of sport. A parent and the child will not know if he or she is good at it, will they like it or will they have fun until they try it. As parents, we need to encourage our children to get out of the house and try something new. Whether that be a sport, a club at school or a volunteer at a local organization. These are all positive building blocks for the future of the next generation. So, get involved and play hard!”