Summerville High School Coach John McKissick, winningest coach of all time, dies

Green Wave coaching legend John McKissick passes on

Coach John McKissick

John McKissick, who served as the head coach for the Green Wave Football program for 63 seasons before retiring in 2015, has passed away. He was 95 years old.

McKissick accepted the job as the head coach of the Summerville High School football team in 1952. As a Green Wave coach, he won 622 football games, which is a national record, and led the Green Wave to 10 state football championships. Beginning with the 1982-83 school year, he won three Class AAAA, Division 1 state titles in a row. His other state championship seasons came during the 55-56, 56-57, 69-70, 78-79, 79-80, 86-87 and 98-99 school years.

McKissick influenced not only the lives of countless athletes, but also other students and coaches. That influence extended beyond the walls of the school, reaching deep into the Summerville community.

“Coach McKissick has always had a standard he holds all his players to,” Bo Blanton, a Green Wave quarterback from 1974-76, said during a 2012 interview following McKissick’s 600th coaching victory. “He requires you to perform on the field, but he also expects you to represent your high school and community in a manner everyone can be proud of. Just look at the things his former players such as Converse Chellis, George Tupper and Harry Blake moved on to do for their community and state.”

Over the years, McKissick sent countless players off to the college ranks. The players he helped reach the NFL ranks include A.J. Green, Kevin Long, Ian Rafferty, Stanford Jennings, Keith Jennings and Zack Bailey.

Prior to coming to Summerville, McKissick served as a paratrooper for the U.S. Army and earned a degree from Presbyterian College. His first coaching job was at Clarkton High in North Carolina, but after only one season there Summerville High School hired him.