I am confident Darin Ward, head coach of the Boonville Pioneers football team, has no idea of who I am. And frankly I doubt he would care. But I remember him well. I remember shaking his hand and telling him he had a big future in sports. Of course, this was 1985, and I was congratulating him after the mighty Newburgh Wildcats sixth grade basketball team had just been defeated for the second time by Boonville’s Loge elementary squad.
I was the assistant coach to former elementary school teacher/coach and soon-to-be NBA official Ted Bernhardt. I would continue coaching my sons for a sum total of 20 years before deciding it was someone else’s turn. In that 20 years, I never saw a youth athlete even come close to having more advanced skill sets than his peers. I truly believe Darin could have beaten our top four boys by himself. How many sixth graders have an accurate jump shot? I remember telling a friend, “When we play them again you must come see this kid play.” My friend, who played a lot of basketball, said, “Wow, he was even better than you made him out to be.”
I saw Darin’s name next starring at Boonville High School in football and basketball. He went on to play tight end/wide receiver for Indiana University until graduation. He now is having tremendous success at Boonville High School leading them to a 6-0 (at this writing) record. I don’t know Coach Ward at all, but sometimes from early on you just know someone has a little something extra. He appears to be able to instill this something extra in his charges as well.
In a community that sometimes seems to get short shrift from a state that believes the southernmost region is Interstate 465, it was indeed a terrific day when the Evansville City Council voted 9-0 to move forward with the Deaconess Aquatic Center. As someone who worked with several others to get a task force formed by the mayor, I certainly appreciate Mayor Lloyd Winnecke seeing the need (all time understatement), convening a task force, and staying focused on the necessary steps to gain the city council’s approval. What a great win for the Jacobsville neighborhood, the city, and the region. I am confident when completed around September 2020, we all will be proud. Thanks to my fellow Mayor’s Aquatic Task Force members for staying the course.
It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of my friend Tyna Wheat, co-owner of The Diamond Galleria. I think the description of her personality at her beautiful celebration was, “Tyna was a force of nature.” Judging by the tremendous outpouring of people and support that has been shown, she will indeed be missed by many. Count me as one of them.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Todd A. Tucker