It Will Outlive Me
I HAD WANTED FOR A LONG TIME for Santa Monica College to be my last professional stop. This is where I wanted to retire, and in the summer of 2005, I did, and Delois and I moved back to the South, to Georgia, near her home and her people. I’ve gone into partial retirement, actually; I would never just retire and go fishing, it’s not in my blood to do that. When I do stop speaking and writing for a living, I probably will keep on moving. But I was blessed to have found my place for a period of 27 years, and nothing happened to uproot me.
Some have said that I settled for it, a small community college with a small athletic department, a small athletic budget, and a small enrollment, which produced a small group of athletes whose lives I could affect. I would not say that I settled for anything. For one thing, I fulfilled one of the dreams I had growing up. Remember, as a kid, I had yearned to be a soldier, a policeman, or a teacher—a man who had authority, a man who could provide a service to his community I have done nothing but teach for more than 30 years. Teaching is all I wanted to do once I completed college, regardless of where my athletic exploits would take me. And regardless of the location or the size or the prestige of the place where I teach, I will always be glad that I was able to do this.
Why would I say I am settling for anything? Some have asked if the victory stand has prevented me from coaching or teaching at bigger schools—if any of us involved in the protest found their paths blocked to better jobs that would have paid more money. I understand the question, although it presumes that I am controlled by the almighty dollar, that I make decisions based on giving into the system and getting paid to compensate me for the compromise.