What you might not know about John McKissick

  • Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012 1:26 a.m.

His first job was coaching six-man football in Clarkston, N.C., where he also coached the girls’ basketball team to the state championship finals.

An excellent bridge player, he learned the card game from the female teachers when he lived in a teachers’ dormitory in Clarkston, N.C.

His only hobby was yardwork.

“When you cut grass, you can see progress. But you see progress in 20-inch strips at a time. I used to cut grass all the time, but now I’ve hired someone else.”

He does not have a middle name. His mother intended for his middle name to be her maiden name (Smith), but it was left off his birth certificate.

“Back then, you didn’t use your birth certificate as much. I went into the Army and that’s when I found out it was left off the birth certificate.”

He has never used a computer.

While at Clemson, he was drafted by the Army for World War II and served as a member of the 82nd Airborne.

“I couldn’t get a deferment. When I got there, they had three lines, Navy, Marines and Army. I got into the Navy line, and it was full. I moved over the the Marine line and it filled up. So I went into the Army. They were looking for paratrooper because so many were wiped out at Normandy. They were looking for people who were 6-foot-tall. I was 6-foot-one half inch.”

His favorite magazine is Reader’s Digest.

“It has a lot of short stories. I don’t have enough concentration to read regular books. I’ve also taken Sports Illustrated so I can keep up with what’s going on out there.”

He was hired as the coach at Summerville in 1952 for $2,700 a year. The superintendent said he got the job because he was the only applicant who didn’t ask what the salary was.

He designed the cloth helmet covers used by teams in practice to distinguish offense from defense. He held the U.S. Patent on it for 17 years.

“I don’t know how much I made, but it put my daughters through school. “

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