On the surface he helped make us "men" through the sport of football. The attention to detail, work ethic, organization and mental and physical demands of Coach Jim Ingram are well documented and appropriately deemed "legendary." Each of us has fiercely vivid individual memories with Coach I that probably vary drastically and have stuck with us forever. I was fortunate in that I got to spend far more time with the man than many -- at first because I was one of his Quarterbacks at WHS and we had extra sessions of study and practice (loved the Friday after school passing drills) that other positions didn't require. Then, as a sportswriter for the local paper, The Argus, I was able to actually interview and talk to the man on a 1-on-1 adult basis and those conversations were just as enlightening and cherished. I feel fortunate that I was able to express to Coach what I'm sure hundreds of his players have also felt over the decades: gratitude for his role in helping shape me as the man I came to be. I've covered literally thousands of high school, college and pro sporting events. I've seen the biggest games and the best athletes and coaches in the world up close and personal. NEVER have I seen a coach more revered and respected by his players than Jim Ingram. You weren't just a Washington High football player when Coach I prowled the sidelines. You were one of his soldiers. He was the unquestioned leader, the general. The man who taught us to fight for the team and each other above ourselves. The lessons learned lasted far past simply winning on the football field. I don't write formally much anymore, as my job doesn't require it. I answer to no one now, as I'm my own boss. And, to be honest, I never missed being under the umbrella of any boss or coach.... except for Coach I. I miss and always have missed not just playing for him, but just being part of his team. To be around a man who cared so deeply for something you also cared for, made the passion and determination spread and seem even more worthwhile. As a high school sports writer, I always said I could spot an Ingram-coached team in 2 minutes, even if they were in different uniforms. Not just the way they played, but the way they looked (weight-room junkies) and dressed (fully in sync, no extras or attention drawing elements allowed, plain white socks only, black cleats) ... they way they spoke to officials (they didn't, that was Coach I's job) and the way they fought for their leader and each other. It's hard for football players to say they "love" a coach who often times they are cursing under their breath and swearing they "hate" as they run another lap around the track holding dumbbells for penalties. But when you saw the passion and pride that an Ingram team played with, it's hard to use any word but LOVE for the passion that emerged. Personally, I often thought what my own football career would have been like had I gone to a different school with a different offense, one that passed the ball more and played to my own individual talents better. But those thoughts are fleeting... because then I realize I wouldn't have played for Coach Jim Ingram ... and I wouldn't trade any aspect of on-field success for the life lessons Aaron Ingram's grandfather taught each and every one of us. I feel numb tonight. The world has lost a great leader of men. But his legacy will literally live on for generations, as each of us continues to relay the stories, the values, the work ethic, the triumphs, the pain and the tears that Coach I led us through. You don't need to be fancy to be great. I can remember getting a ride through Niles Canyon from him in his old Toyota pickup truck to a summer passing league game in Pleasanton like it was yesterday. I was probably 15, 16, and I looked at the man like he was something other-worldly.... I had heard about him forever (he coached my Dad and uncles too), but now here i was, riding shotgun with the coolest/scariest guy I had ever known in person. I can still go out to the practice field and run a near-perfect (I hope) practice with every singe play he ever taught me ingrained in my mind and body (even those gorgeous passing league plays we never really used much in the real games, slide right, choice left, go, switch, 91, 92, 93, 94, etc... the live audible we worked on but never used... of course all the 'bone plays.... 27 and 43 lead, 13 and 17 triple, the belly, the counter, etc, etc) .... the monday morning game plans, when a coach had so much love and passion for the game he knew the name and number of every opponent, even on the JV TEAM... I'm rambling.... We'll miss you, Coach I. Perhaps I'll write a more organized tribute later. You may not be here personally to correct our footwork, throwing motion or reads anymore, but you'll always be our Coach, and your voice will always been in our ears. Thank you.
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Erik Groesbeck, JonandChar Ruth, Tanya Stevenson and 32 others like this.
Kent Elola sorry for the typos. no mood to edit tonight. bottom line, Coach I taught us invaluable lessons that rang home to all of us, each in unique ways. For me, growing up with a single mother, Coach I was the father figure/disciplinarian I needed badly at the time. Organized sports are great for keeping kids on the right path and no one was more organized than Jim Ingram. Summer workouts morning noon or night, he'd be there. You don't make excuses. You don't whine when things go bad. We can't all be stars all the time. You do your job to the very best of your ability and when today is done, no matter whether you won or lost, you wake up and strive to do it even better tomorrow. Whatever It Takes. One final breakdown please.... Coach I: "YOU GATA!" Huskies: "WE GATA!"
Tuesday at 10:19pm · Edited · Like · 7
Vanessa Roberson Beautiful my friend KT!!'
Tuesday at 10:25pm via mobile · Unlike · 1
Aaron Ingram Kent, just when I thought I was done crying for the day, this brings the waterfalls down again. Thank you for this. I'm at a loss for words. All I can say is " Once a Husky, Always a Husky "
Tuesday at 11:07pm via mobile · Unlike · 7
Kent Elola I could probably literally write a book full of lessons and memories of Coach I. One of the oddest was when he took over as coach of my TENNIS team for a day when Coach Kato was out sick. You figured he'd just show up, make sure no one got hurt or had problems in the matches, then went home (or, more accurately, back to the weight room). But that's not Coach I. He called me over (I was no. 1 singles by then, a senior) and asked me, "what's the strategy here Elola? do we need to mix up the lineup to beat these guys?" He was dead serious. I don't know why I was surprised. There didn't have to be a football practice or game going on for Coach Ingram to be Coach Ingram. What's best for the team? How do we best attack this problem to come out with a WIN? In life, are there many questions more important than those two? We went thru the wars together, Aaron Ingram. #12 and #13 spent a whole lot of time together under the eye of Coach I. Those days, not just the games, but the workouts, the film study, the passing leagues... they formed bonds that never can be broken. You and I both had a natural love for football, but God knows it was multiplied tenfold because we were blessed to be around in what I consider your grandfather's coaching prime, and we have both chosen/excelled in careers spurned from those times. He didn't just teach the game or how to win. He taught how to PREPARE to win. There are no shortcuts. I will always be grateful Jim Ingram was around to teach us that.
Tuesday at 11:20pm · Like · 2
Kent Elola I remember a 2-a-day workout before our senior year. It was hot in August. we were pissing Coach I off more than usual and practice turned into a series of 120-yard full-field sprints. I was literally ready to throw up, something I've never done before or since on a playing field. I was thinking about how much work I had put in and how little playing time i would probably get, stuck behind Brandon Kelly at QB our senior season after having so much fun and success as the JV QB the year before. I was ready to quit right there. Then, and I doubt he remembers this, but I swear it happened... Paul Wenger ended up next to me as we waited for the next whistle to run again and was cursing and pissed and said something like, "i'm so damn ready to walk out of here"... It struck me... Paul was our star running back. He was going to get plenty of headlines and accolades that season... Yet he was being tested to his very core just like every single one of us. Whether it was Keith Putt or Tom Shane, there were no "favorites" with Coach I. Not on the field anyway. We all worked, worked, then worked some more. And if we didn't like it, we knew where the door was. But none of us took that route. No run or vomit or weight session could be nearly as miserably as disappointing Coach I. and, conversely, nothing could make us feel better than that rare compliment or "attaboy" from the man we all wanted to make proud. There was a scene in the movie Miracle, about the 1980 Gold Medal U.S. Olympic hockey team that reminded me of that miserable day in August when we were all, in unison virtually, so thoroughly tested to our limits with Coach. I looked up the quote, and damn if it didn't ring true for the 1990-91 WHS Huskies that day: Craig Patrick: Hey, Doc, let me ask you a question.
Doc: Well, of course.
Craig Patrick: You've worked with Herb for a long time, right?
Doc: I've known Herb for quite some time.
Craig Patrick: So let me ask you, does he always treat his players like this?
Doc: No... no, this I have never seen. No - but Craig, Herb has a reason for everything he does.
Craig Patrick: Well, he's gonna end up with 20 players who hate his guts.
Doc: Well, maybe if they hate him they won't have time to hate each other.
Tuesday at 11:28pm · Like · 4