Outside the Lines: Love for coach displayed with state title

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

After talking to his team and spending time with the media, Coach Jerry Stearns made his way through the back hallway and around the corner into the front lobby of The Brick House Friday night.

&8220;Great job coach!&8221; one fan after another said as Stearns moved past.

As Stearns made his way to a bench to sit for a while before leaving to join his team at dinner, numerous parents, fans and former students made their way to speak to him.

One paused to talk about how deserving of a man Stearns was of the state championship that unfolded just moments ago, while a former player wanted to introduce her boyfriend to her coach. Stearns urged another student who was no longer in his class to keep in touch.

Everyone wanted Coach Stearns to celebrate. Everyone that is, except the man himself.

Stearns preferred to sit back and watch his girls enjoy the moment of success, a moment that they had waited for the past five years, coming close on numerous occasions.

This time his team was tasting victory in the state championship game, and all he could do was watch with pride and love for his girls.

This championship is not about him but about his team, whom he considers the most unselfish group he&8217;s ever been around.

When asked, Stearns says it doesn&8217;t matter if he ever coaches another state title, because he is not in it for himself but for the players…the same players that most likely keep him coming to the court day-in and day-out ,despite numerous health issues through the past two seasons.

While he doesn&8217;t like to talk about it, Stearns spent the entire season on crutches as a result of multiple health issues ithe past couple of years.

While, I have not been around to see Stearns without the crutches, I have a hunch that the love he receives from his players and fans was there then too. But just as he told his team after falling short of a perfect season in 2004, character is shown by how we handle what is thrown at us in life. That is what this coach is doing, displaying his character of quiet confidence in his players and his love for those who put on a Kingwood uniform.