Edwards: A good man

Larry Edwards.

That’s a good name for he was a good man.

Edwards, who lost his battle with ALS on Tuesday, became a fixture at Parkersburg South High School in general and Patriot basketball in particular.

No matter whether it was a pregame interview, a practice with his players or a tense moment in the heat of battle, Edwards always conducted himself like a gentleman.

Those who played for him admired his patience and his commitment. He was a tireless worker who would perform the menial tasks because he knew they would give his athletes a better chance to win.

Newspaper staff members assigned to do a season preview on South basketball became accustomed to being warmly greeted by Edwards, who then would hand them a roster, a schedule and enough information to write the story. He was meticulous. He cared. He would go the extra mile and do anything to promote his players. About the only person he didn’t promote was himself. He was a quiet leader who led by example.

Seldom are people who hold a position of leadership described as nice. But that’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about coach Edwards. He always had a kind word. A warm smile. And he always made time for whoever needed it.

As tall as he was, he could have been an imposing figure. But he was a gentle giant who exuded class.

Somehow, he managed to transcend several generations of players. Players who grew up under different circumstances. Rather than curse the technology that has become a major part of life and sports, he embraced it, knowing it could make his team better.

I doubt there is another individual who spent as much time as the Rod Oldham Athletic Center as Edwards. He was there for practice. He was there for games. It seemed like every time I would visit my alma mater, one of the first persons I would encounter was coach Edwards, who would make me feel welcome and at ease.

It’s not going to be the same without his sage wisdom being part of South basketball. His death creates a huge void, one that may be impossible to fill as there was only one Larry Edwards.

I was also saddened to hear of the death of Jerry Godbey, the son of the late Don and Elaine Godbey, who in 1969 led the fundraising drive to save Stanley Field from becoming a garbage dump.

Jerry and his brothers Jack and Joe and sister Donna Boston lived a couple streets over from the Poe household when we were growing up. We played baseball, tennis ball, whiffle ball or whatever we could find that particular day. The Godbey family was quite special to me as Don gave me an opportunity to play youth baseball despite my having a physical handicap. I’ll also never forget at the same time they were raising money for Stanley Field, they had a benefit baseball game to help defray my medical expenses.

I’ll always remember the great contribution the Godbeys made to south Parkersburg and to myself and my family.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com