The Man We Called “Coach”
We gather today, to say our good-bye;
It’s ok to laugh, it’s ok to cry.
Friend and Mentor – Grandfather and Dad;
More than just a Coach, such an impact he had!
He told us “Don’t fuss”, whenever he goes;
Standing room only, I’m sure that he knows.
For all that he did, we do raise a toast;
But Tom had some quirks and those we must roast!
The Cards were his life, the Gophers his soul;
But Pat and the kids, their love made him whole.
Coach Tom paid the bills, Pat was the planner;
They always were current - they had that “police scanner!”
Tom played for Bierman, was teammates with Stoll;
Warmath and Grant, he was close to them all.
To Wacker and Holtz, pre-game talks he did send;
Of course – Sid Hartman – was his “very good friend!”
Fredlund and Champa, for years his main foes;
He never backed off, often went “nose to nose.”
Tom liked to win, no attempt he to hide;
But building good men was truly his pride!
He once told my team, “Stay off the beer”;
Now almost 60, I still drink in fear!
10 perfect plays to end each work out;
“Screw up – Start over,” he always would shout!
256-That’s games that he won;
When Tom left the game, he was number one.
Took 31 straight, four decades ago;
Through all of those games, just one pass did he throw!
Official, A.D, at the Dome held the sticks;
He never completely got out of the mix.
Once Pat departed, he was never the same;
Gone his life partner, his heart lost the game.
23 offspring, based on my last count;
Knowing the Mahoney’s, that number will mount!
It hurts to the core, it feels empty inside;
But soon he will be at your mother’s side.
He may not have told you or said it out loud;
But in each of you, was always so proud!
Tough on the outside, a softy down deep;
He taught you great lessons, no mountain too steep.
Just four months ago, with Tom the last time;
We had a great lunch – of course on my dime!
We talked some ball, he told me some stories;
It wasn’t his style, to bring up old glories.
When it was time, to finish that day;
Before we did part, I had something to say.
I told Tom I loved him- never said that before;
He nodded – and hugged me - and lingered no more.
So “Goodbye, dear friend and good luck up there”;
The courses are green - footballs in the air.
God’s blowing his whistle, announcing Tom’s approach;
Heaven’s doors swing open, for the man we called “Coach”.
~ Mike Daly