Legendary coach wins 600th game of remarkable 61-year career

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

St. John's (Minn.) College football coach John Gagliardi is widely recognized as a football legend, owning the national collegiate record for most victories in a career; his 487 wins dwarfs the 409 victories Joe Paterno earned to stand as the all-time leader in Division I football (before 111 were vacated as part of the investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal).

All-time football wins leader John McKissick, who earned the 600th victory of his career Friday — AP
All-time football wins leader John McKissick, who earned the 600th victory of his career Friday — AP

Still, Gagliardi can't even hold a candle to one prep coach who earned his 600th career victory on Friday.

As reported by the Associated Press, 86-year-old South Carolina prep football legend John McKissick won the 600th game of his 61-year victory on Friday night, with his Summerville (S.C.) High football squad topping Ashley Ridge (S.C.) High, 37-21. The veteran coach's career record improved to 600-147-3 with the win, and the Green Wave victory pushed the team's record to 6-4, ensuring it would avoid a losing season.

That's an important distinction for all Green Wave teams, as only two of the 61 teams McKissick has coached have finished with a losing record.

In typical fashion, McKissick deflected praise about his latest milestone victory onto the players who helped him earn it.

"I feel good for the kids," McKissick told the AP. "They can tell everybody they were part of the 600th. I think they'll be proud of that."

As if anyone could forget that McKissick is nearly 90 years old, his age was reinforced by one of the first people he greeted after the victory: His great-grandaughter named Emma Kate.

"Ain't she pretty?" McKissick asked a nearby reporter.

Then McKissick took a ride off the field on the shoulders of some of his players, an honor he's earned more than once in the course of a remarkable coaching career that has spanned the generations.

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