Holtz, Ford, Spurrier, Swinney praise McKissick

Danny Ford won the 1981 national title at Clemson. (File/Wade Spees/Staff)

File, Wade Spees/Staff

Prominent current and former college head coaches, and the second-winningest high school coach, weigh in on the retirement of Summerville High School head football coach John McKissick:

“When you talk about John McKissick, you’re talking about one of the most successful head coaches, not just in South Carolina, but anywhere. No one has done any more for a program, for players and for a community than John McKissick and he would have been just as successful at any level of football.”

Lou Holtz, former coach at South Carolina and Notre Dame

“South Carolina since I’ve been here has had some really great high school football coaches, but none better than John McKissick. I don’t say that lightly, because many of those high school coaches could have coached in college. But just his longevity, his record, what he stood for and the way his players acted in college — that was all special. I’m sad in a way, but happy for him.”

Danny Ford, former Clemson head coach

“Coach McKissick is one of the nicest gentleman I know. He’s a smart coach and a good coach — outstanding in everything he did. I’m going to certainly miss seeing him when I go by Summerville High School. I’ve made it a point every year to try to go by there during recruiting season and say ‘hello’ to Coach McKissick. He’s well-respected, admired, a friend of all. We’re going to miss him, but we certainly understand when the time’s right, as he feels it is, it’s time to go do something else, and he’ll be doing something else.”

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina head coach

“First, I want to congratulate Coach John McKissick on an incredible career and the contributions he has made to this profession. He has had such a positive impact on the lives of so many coaches and players dating to when he started in 1952. I played and coached at the University of Alabama, a school whose history includes Bear Bryant. Coach McKissick won nearly twice as many games as Coach Bryant. That is almost impossible to comprehend. Each year I have had the privilege of spending some time with Coach McKissick and I have learned so much from him. I want him to know that we will all miss him on the sidelines, but understand that we will always appreciate what he has contributed. The commitment he has made to the sport and to that community is unprecedented. One thing that stands out to me took place my first year as a head coach at Clemson. I was asked to speak at the state high school clinic and as I started my talk I noticed Coach McKissick sitting on the front row taking notes. Here he was over 80 years old and he was still setting a great example. His presence told me that you can never stop improving, never stop striving to get better, and never be satisfied with your past accomplishments.”

Dabo Swinney, Clemson head coach

“Any time you lose a coach of Coach McKissick’s status you feel for the kids that he’s not going to be able to coach. It’s difficult to replace a coach like that on the field and in every way. Certainly, if anyone deserves some time off, it’s Coach McKissick. But it’s bittersweet. I congratulate him on a great career.”

J.T. Curtis, head coach at John Curtis Christian School and the second-winningest high school coach (542 wins).