The Nashville community paid its final respects to legendary Lipscomb Academy high school football coach Glenn McCadams who died Thursday, March 21, following a brief illness.
Visitation for McCadams, who coached high school football for 44 years, the last 31 years at Lipscomb, took place Monday, March 25, from 3-8 p.m., and Tuesday, March 26, from 11 a.m.- noon, followed by the funeral at noon, all at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, located at 5120 Franklin Road, Nashville. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the Lipscomb Academy Mustang football program, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the American Red Cross in memory of McCadams.
McCadams is credited with being a tremendous influence at Lipscomb and across the state at Lipscomb as well as across the state.
“A great, great man,” said Ronnie Carter, retired executive director of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA). “My friendship with Glenn goes back 50 years from when we were in college together at Bethel (University) to his early years coaching at Milan with John Tucker and at Trenton Peabody before his coming to Lipscomb.
“His record speaks to the fact that he was a great football coach, but he was so much more than that. He was a great father, husband and friend – and that is the greatest compliment anyone can receive. He was very well known in Middle Tennessee, but I want people to know he had just as great an impact outside this area. I know I am joined in mourning this man by countless thousands of people he touched with his life and devotion to both athletics and education.”
While McCadams spent 31 years at Lipscomb -- building the football program into a well-known name and literally helping to build the academy’s football stadium at Lealand Lane -- his true legacy will be felt well beyond the boundaries of Lipscomb, as thousands of men and their families have been influenced by his coaching since 1967.
“Just three weeks ago, we were in a meeting together planning a football clinic, and he was sharing all he knew about how to make it successful,” said Bobby Sharp, head coach at Lewis County High School and longtime friend of McCadams. “He worked hard for sports and football in Tennessee on so many committees and boards. We were friends for more than 30 years, and this man always stood as the most positive role model for young athletes and football players. He was a man of great character…no higher, no better than him.”
McCadams’ reputation as an outstanding coach extends beyond even this state’s borders.
“Coach McCadams was a great coach, mentor and gentleman,” said Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe, former Ole Miss head football coach and former offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. “I can honestly say I have never recruited at another school (like Lipscomb), where when Coach told you a young man could play and was the right kind of person, that you could put that in thebank and count on it!”
His staff and colleagues are also lauding McCadams’ influence.
“Coach was a father figure to me,” said Andrew Stewart, assistant football coach at Lipscomb Academy and former player under McCadams who went on to play at Penn State. “There are not very many people I respect more or look up to more than him. There are so many things I will miss about him. He had a backbone (He would say, ‘stubborn’!). He was a man of God. He was committed to doing the right thing and treating people right. He was a colleague and friend. I would take anything to him and always get good advice. What I am missing most right now – and there will be much more that I will miss with this man – is going down to the field and talking football and shooting the breeze.”
But possibly the most telling testament to McCadams’ life and work is coming from those he built his life’s work upon: his players.
Jonathan Shaub, who played for then David Lipscomb High School from 1996-1998, and went on to play for Vanderbilt University, reflects on how McCadams not only knew football, but also taught life values.
“To me and countless other young men and women, Coach Mac embodied what it meant to live a faithful, loving and humble life,” said Shaub. “I never doubted Coach Mac’s faith in me or his commitment to me, and I know he made innumerable others feel the same way. He knew the things that were important in his life -- faith, family and community -- and held on to them with his unflinching grasp. I entered his locker room for the first time as an arrogant, naive 16-year-old, and ten years later, he would fly up to New York City, a place I’m sure he had no desire to go, because he wanted to visit me in a hospital bed and pray for me and my family. Since I arrived at Lipscomb as a middle-schooler until today, Coach Mac was not just the personification of what it means to be a great football coach, but also the personification of what it means to live humbly and to walk with God.”
Austin Rogers, who played for Lipscomb from 2002-2004 and went on to play at the University of Tennessee, said, “From the time I was a nervous sophomore trying not a make any mistakes on the field, to the times during my senior year when I kept telling him to give me the ball more, he always knew what to say to guide me in the right direction. Coach Mac was never about the wins and the losses. He was there to make men out of boys. He was there to make good men and did a great job doing so. Attitude, work, hustle, pride and class forever. Coach Mac was the definition of a servant. He will be missed by many, but never forgotten. To me, Coach Mac is Lipscomb football, and it was
an honor to have played for him.”
Former players credited McCadams with giving them the confidence to pursue their dreams.
“Coach Mac was the greatest coach I have ever played for,” said Zach Rogers, a Lipscomb Mustang from 2005-2008 who went on to play for the University of Tennessee where he completed his senior season this past fall. “He developed each one of us into the players and men we are today. He instilled the confidence in me to pursue my dream of making it to the NFL. I have the utmost respect for Coach Mac and his family. I will forever be thankful for the mentoring and lessons learned from that man. He will be greatly missed.”
Former Ole Miss quarterback Ethan Flatt, who played for Lipscomb from 1998-2001, said, “Coach Mac personified integrity and exhibited true class in all aspects of his life.”
“He decided to give a tall, lanky kid with no experience a chance to play quarterback, when 99 percent of coaches would’ve reflexively labeled him a wide receiver or tight end. In doing so, he fundamentally altered my life’s course, and for that I will be forever grateful,” he said. “Coaching football, however, was just something Coach Mac did; it’s not who he was. Coach Mac, the person, was an upright and Godly man, a proud father/grandfather, a respected leader and a patriot. His impact on the Lipscomb family extends far beyond the football team, and he leaves a legacy that will be felt for years and years to come. He deserves more honor than I can possibly bestow or articulate.”
If you would like to post a memorial to Coach Mac, go to http://www.lipscomb.edu/academy/Coach-Mac.