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Cavaliers remember Mike Garvin's legacy

8:33 PM, Jun. 10, 2014 EDT


Mike Garvin's last Mount de Sales football campaign was 24 years ago.

His glasses no longer reflect the glow of Friday night, so the stadium bears his name. A display out front pays tribute to the man who coached, taught, and befriended so many.

"He was the kind of guy you watched, studied, and emulated," said Mount de Sales athletic director, Robert Slocum.

Slocum played for the man in his hay day. The Cavaliers won three championships in four years, going 33-1 in the GHSA during the 1970, 1971, and 1973 seasons.

"We just felt like we were in condition and we could compete with anyone we played against."

The defensive back and bruising tailback took over the head coaching duties for 23 years when Garvin retired. Over two decades removed from his playing days, Slocum remembers the respect that Garvin commanded from opponents and Cavaliers alike.

"If he told us that grass was red, we didn't question it. That grass was red."

Whatever color the grass was, Garvin's defenses found a way to make dust. Line coach Chester Pierce and the rest of the staff knew the priority from day one: keep the other team off the board.

"You could listen to coach Garvin and hear, 'We're going to shut this group out, we're going to shut this team out," said Pierce. "He was bound and determined."

Garvin's obsession with numbers wasn't limited to the gridiron. His other domain was in the classroom. He taught trigonometry and calculus before, and after, his coaching career at Mount de Sales.

Joe McDaniel sat in one of those classrooms, at Willingham high school.

"I wasn't much of a student, but he was a great teacher."

The eventual Mount de Sales assistant first met Garvin as a nine year old on the basketball court.

"Coach Garvin was a Mercer student, and was officiating grammar school sports," said McDaniel.

After playing basketball for Garvin in middle school, and taking his math class in high school, McDaniel was eventually hired to the Cavaliers' staff as a defensive backs and tailbacks coach for the 1972 season.

He is just one of many voices who can tell you what Mike Garvin meant to his students, players and friends.

"He was a man of faith. He was a family man. He was a teacher. He left a great legacy of being a man who cared about others," McDaniel said. "And it was obvious."

That's a man who earned three titles.

Coach. Teacher. Friend.

Mike Garvin is survived by his wife of 49 years, Carolyn, and their sons, Michael, Rob, and Matt.

Follow 13WMAZ's Wes Blankenship on Twitter: @Wes_nship



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