Before Friday night’s football game between Raceland and Ironton, Raceland assistant coach Mark Lewis was honored for his 41 years of coaching high school football. Along with being an assistant at Raceland, he spent 33 years as an assistant at Ironton.
While fans from both sides gave Lewis a standing ovation, Rams coach T.J. Maynard said he was scared Lewis would get back at him because he doesn’t like the attention.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get punched or not,” Maynard laughed. “Coach Lewis has been a great asset to our staff. He’s been a great asset for me, and a wealth of knowledge, so it’s really nice as a head coach to bounce ideas off of him and get his input. I respect what he has to say.
“I think you see that respect, not only from the Raceland fans, but the Ironton fans, and you see what type of person he is. He doesn’t like all the attention, but he deserves it.”
Lewis said he knew nothing about the pregame celebration. And while he was honored by the recognition, he wants to point out his team won on Friday night.
“I was surprised by it,” Lewis said. “But it’s not about me, it’s about the kids and what they can accomplish. (The program’s 500th win) was great for the community and great for the school.”
Along with the pre-game mention, Lewis was given the game ball after the win. According to Raceland junior Maverick Dixon, the team wanted to win for Lewis.
“It’s huge,” Dixon said. “We really wanted to do this for coach Lewis since he coached over there (at Ironton). He was a big reason we wanted this win.”
While honoring Lewis, the PA announcer made sure to tell the crowd this wasn’t a retirement or a send-off. Lewis is still having fun being out on the sidelines.
“I didn’t change my colors but I changed my school,” said the orange-clad Lewis. “I still enjoy it. I guess when it doesn’t mean something anymore, I’ll quit, but I still have the fire to get out there and compete.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.