Thank you Coach Putnam

12 years ago

To the editor:
    On the heels of a movement by a small group of influential people trying to force Hall of Fame Coach Murray W. Putnam to retire, I would like to publicly thank Coach Putnam for being a big part of making me the man that I am today. You see, as a young man, I admittedly was one of those boys who, on occasion, made some “not-so-intelligent decisions.”
    As an adult who returned home from military service, I tried to take the time to thank the many positive role models that positively influenced me. These role models included teachers, coaches, family and friends. As a young man, one area that particularly helped me was that I, thankfully, was always involved in sports. In doing so, this offered me some valuable insight on work ethic, teamwork, and accountability; particularly as a high school baseball player. I was blessed with a baseball Coach who absolutely refused to change his standards for this young man. As teenagers typically do, I thought I knew more than most adults.
    Thanks Coach Putnam for your “old school” philosophy. For keeping me accountable for my actions. For making me tuck my shirt in, getting my hair cut, being clean shaven, and getting up for early morning practices. For making me wear my Warriors hat the “way it’s meant to be worn,” teaching me that “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right,” to always “respect the game,” to always hustle on and off the field, and never, ever … ever, take a called third strike.
    Thanks for telling me “No” even, when as a youth, I didn’t want to hear it. Thanks for being the toughest, most disciplined, high school varsity baseball coach I have ever known. It helped prepare me for my military service, my career, and my responsibilities as a husband/father. Your positive influence on me has also given me a strong desire to want to work with our area youth, particularly as a coach in athletics.
    As your assistant, I saw the “softer side” of you, too. How you commonly used your own money to better your program. Bailing youngsters out with your own money when they mismanaged their funds on the Massachusetts trip again and again.
    A person who has dedicated so much of their life to serving so many young men, deserves to retire when you decide; not when a few disgruntled school board members think you should. I believe you have earned that. I always have, and always will, continue to call you “Coach.” And, oh, as a side note, in case anyone knows nothing about the winning tradition of Southern Aroostook baseball — thanks, Coach, for leading our Class of 1989 to four consecutive Eastern Maine and three consecutive State Championships. Not that your nearly 500 victories are everything, but I’d say that 10 Eastern Maines and five State Championships isn’t too shabby.
    Fight the fight, Coach … don’t take a called third on this one!
Ben Drew
Houlton