The longest tenured in the history of American football is reportedly about to step down. According to WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., Summerville (S.C.) High School John McKissick plans to retire before the beginning of the 2015 season. McKissick declined to use those words in an interview, but said he has planned a press conference for later this week.
McKissick, 88, arrived at Summerville in 1952 and never left. He has paced the sidelines in Summerville for 63 seasons and in 2012 became the first coach in the history of the game to surpass the 600-win mark. McKissick's record stands today at 620-156-13 with 10 state championships, the most recent in 1998, and notched a state-record 41-game winning streak from 1978-80. Former Carroll College (Mont.) and Saint John's (Minn.) head coach John Gagliardi holds college football's all-time wins mark at a distant 489.
"I thought you had to be innovative," McKissick told ESPN The Magazine during a 2012 profile. "We were fixing to play a team from Jasper County with a great middle linebacker who just seemed to make every tackle. So I put two QBs under center and two halfbacks behind each of them and had both quarterbacks spin out after the snap. That middle linebacker, he just stood there flat-footed, dumbfounded, didn't know which way to go, and we took it 70 yards for a touchdown. Officials called it back. Said it was against the rules. I didn't know the rule. I still don't know the rule. That was the last time I tried a gimmick."
A former World War II paratrooper, McKissick was named the NFL's Don Shula High School Coach of the Year in 2012 and last year became an inaugural member of the South Carolina Football Association Hall of Fame. A native of Kingstree, S.C., McKissick played at Brevard College and Presbyterian before jumping into coaching at Summerville.
WCIV-TV reports offensive coordinator - and McKissick's grandson - Joe Call will serve as Summerville's interim head coach for 2015 while the school searches for a full-time replacement.