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Tigers honored at BOE meeting

The Greenville Tigers varsity football team has earned a number of distinctions for their achievements on the gridiron.  But members of the team received an even more meaningful honor off the field during Thursday night’s Butler County Board of Education meeting.

Butler County Schools superintendent John Strycker recognized Greenville head football coach Josh McLendon and four of his players not only for their talents on Friday night, but how they chose to use them.

Strycker told attendees to Thursday night’s meeting that he had come to know two different types of coaches in his 27-year career in education—those who coached to win ball games, and those who used their position as a vehicle for greater things.  McLendon, he said, was one of the latter.

“I was very impressed with coach McLendon and how he uses football as a tool to develop young people,” Strycker said.

“Because football is just here and now, but the life skills that these athletes are learning will carry them far beyond the football field.  And so I appreciate that.”

Likewise, Strycker awarded four members of the Tigers team–Randy Rudolph, Malik Bunch, Tyler Lewis and Jeremiah Owens–with plaques commemorating their dedication to being strong role models for their peers and underclassmen.

“What I do want to say to these players is that certainly God has gifted you with talent, and it’s great that you get to go out on that football field and showcase those talents,” Strycker added. “But I want you to know what’s more important to me is how you use your talents to help others and help our school family. And I want you guys to know you have great responsibility not only for yourselves, but those younger kids who are watching you. 

“I’ve had athletes who said ‘I didn’t ask those kids to watch me.  I don’t care if I need to be an example.’ And that’s wrong.  Because those little eyes are watching you.  They’re not listening to your words; they’re watching your actions.  And so I want you guys to know I greatly appreciate it.”

Strycker’s praise for performance off the field came with the caveat that he very much cares about the competition on the field, as well.

“I’m one of the only superintendents in my county’s history to get a technical foul,” he said with a laugh. “I want you to know that I’m very passionate and very competitive, and I will be the one cheering you on when we win those football games. 

“But still, at the end of the day, what’s more important to me is how you carry yourselves so that those little kids who are watching you carry themselves in the same way.”