CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening at George Washington High School to honor the football coach who led the Patriots to victory in the 1982 Class AAA state championship.
Steve Edwards Sr. died Saturday morning at the age of 81. He coached George Washington from 1968 to 1983, earning a record of 99-67, four playoff berths and one championship over the 16 seasons.
Jack Grimm said he knew Edwards going back to their time as students at West Virginia University, adding the coach guided his son and grandson during their playing days.
“My guys loved him. He was tough, but he was fair,” Grimm said. “He was like an old drill sergeant taking care of these guys and making them shape up.”
The vigil was held on the track of Steve Edwards Sr. Field, which was named in 2005 to honor the coach.
Football boosters president Carol Christenson helped organize the vigil. She said even after his head coaching days, Edwards remained a positive influence for players, including her sons.
“His legacy for the community is the young men he helped mold and shape as he coached them on the field,” she said. “I think he also helped them in life and I think that you can see through their successfulness the impact that he had on their lives.”
West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner was one of those who Edwards coached; Warner graduated from George Washington in 1973.
“Steve Edwards turned boys into men on the field named after him right behind you,” he told the crowd.
“He did build that Patriot pride and that’s what we celebrate here this evening.”
George Washington High School Principal George Aulenbacher said Edwards knew how to challenge students to make them into more confident individuals.
“The thing that he could do is get people to do things that they were uncomfortable with and move them forward. Not only on the football field, but in life,” he said.
A service to honor Edwards will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Snodgrass Funeral Home in South Charleston.