Haywood County man has coached kids, their dads and grandfathers for 49 years
HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) —
Our Person of the Week has been a pillar of youth football in the mountains for decades. For 49 years, coach Vick Inman has preached work ethic and teamwork, leaving a lasting impression.
Inman's appeared in 13 Super Bowls and won nine, but those championships only scratch the surface of his true success with the Bethel Mites.
The group of mostly 9- and 10-year-olds won't remember every play or practice, but chances are they'll remember the feeling of football season at this tender age.
"He makes practice really fun for us," player Carter Browning said.
"All right, here we go!" Inman said at a recent practice.
Yep, here we go again: with a legendary coach. Past players say the current crop will grow to appreciate the man who's been here for all the right reasons since 1968.
"Started coaching football, you know, because I like the game, like to watch it," he recalled. "Just to see them improve so much from the start of the season to the end of the season."
Inman's coached so long that his world's collided with generations of many families.
Sometimes, the players take hits, sometimes they might even fumble or they might just take the ball and run with it. The experience of playing the game under Inman is a shared experience for Browning.
"I coached his grandfather," Inman explained.
Browning got the scouting report on the coach from his grandfather Roy.
"I've asked him, 'Do you know my coach, do you know my coach?'" Browning said. "He's like, 'Yeah, he used to be mine!'
"He said that Vick, he's just the same way. He hasn't changed his style," Browning said. "And since then, he's won Super Bowls after Super Bowls."
The former paper plant worker has built a title factory with the mites.
"When you're at work, you answer to a boss and you've got to do what he needs you to do," Inman said. "The same way out here. You have to do what the team needs you to do."
Beyond wins and losses, Inman's real legacy is the players.
"Assistant coach, I coached him as he come through," Inman said, pointing to Scott Moore. Inman also coached Moore's two boys.
"It's not just about football, it's about life," Moore said. "That's what football is about, life lessons."
No matter how much the world's changed outside the lines, generations have found wisdom in a calming voice.
"I treated him fairly and tried to get the best out of him that I could," Inman said of how he'd like players to remember him. "Do the best you can."