Green Wave legend McKissick retiring? ‘My age is catching up with me,’ Summerville coach says

Summerville coach John McKissick hasn't made up his mind, but is considering retiring this week. Paul Zoeller/Special to the Post and Courier

Summerville football coach John McKissick said he hasn’t made up his mind yet, but could retire this week as the school’s athletic director and head football coach after more than six decades.

McKissick, 88, has been the Green Wave’s head coach since 1952 and would be entering his 64th season this fall. McKissick is the winningest coach in football at any level with a record of 621-156-13.

“I haven’t made up my mind, but I’m going into the district office on Monday and let them know what I’m going to do,” McKissick told The Post and Courier during a phone call from his beach house in DeBordieu. “I’ve been the athletic director and football coach for a long time, and I feel like my age is catching up with me. A new school year will end on June 30 and I felt like this was the right time to do it if I was going to do it.”

McKissick said he would hold a press conference later this week if he decides to leave the school.

Joe Call, McKissick’s grandson and the Green Wave’s offensive coordinator, is expected to be named interim coach until a permanent replacement is found. Many consider Call to be the leading candidate to replace his legendary grandfather.

“I haven’t heard anything from my principal and I haven’t really talked to my grandad about this,” Call said. “He has been kind of talking about retiring, but nothing has been decided as far as I know on him or me being the interim coach.”

McKissick built the Green Wave into a powerhouse, winning 10 state championships, the latest coming during the 1998 season.

J.T. Curtis, who has been the head coach at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, La., is second in the history of high school football with 542 career wins. Curtis, 67, is 542-58-6 since becoming the head coach in 1969 at the private school near New Orleans.

Rumors about McKissick’s imminent retirement have been swirling around the program for years, but this is the first time he has given the idea serious consideration.

“When I started, I thought 30 years from now, ‘I can retire.’ ” McKissick told The Post and Courier in 2012 after winning his 600th game. “Well, it got to be 30 years, and I thought there was still a lot to accomplish. When the 30 years were up, I wasn’t ready. Some people think I have been around too long. I have a house at the beach and I go there. But after a couple of days, I get bored. I’m ready to get back to Summerville and coach football.”