Today I learned that one of the best friends I ever had in this world died yesterday. He was an exceptional person. Selected to two sporting Hall of Fames, once chosen as one of he top five track coaches in the USA, trainer of All Americans, Olympians, Professional sport figures. That’s not why I loved the man. He was my friend and he shared his vast knowledge with me and any others that asked without reserve or cost.
When I took over the basketball teams at Marianna Middle I knew very little about coaching. He came to every practice for the ten years I led the team. We were very successful because of his input. I also served as defensive coordinator on the football team and again Coach Pelham was there to help me every practice, every year. He refused to accept a supplement, his help was all voluntary.
He was a FSU grad and I was a major UF fan and we went to games together and watched games together and never had a cross word and never participated in ribbing or joking about the other’s team. That was the respect we had for each other.
We played cards together, he and I against Gail and Grace and it was the most enjoyable time of my life in so many ways. He was a wonderful husband, step-father, mentor and friend. I saw him grow in his love for Jesus and his participation in church where his natural ability soon proved itself in leadership. His passing leaves a hole in mine and Grace’s heart that can’t be filled.
James was a good man. He was a great coach. He was the ultimate friend. Rest in peace my brother.