I was excited to read Jerry Pierce’s REFLECTIONS on Gene Knecht in last week’s weekend edition (Oct. 21-22). As always, Pierce weaves a great story and captures the local legends well. Missing in my read on Knecht was a man who knew the importance of spiritual growth and his family’s active participation with Trinity Episcopal Church since I first met him in 1966. Coach Knecht supported his family and community with his gifts of time and talents. My last snapshot of Knecht and his wife at Trinity occurred a few years ago when I stopped in for a quiet moment and they were replacing a poster they had updated annually for years.
We talked for a few minutes—Mrs. Knecht respected that I came for quiet! He talked about the number of times head coaches changed and how he (and Ropp—I believe) often laughed that they would lose their job and MAY be forced to leave Natchitoches. Few college coaches get to stay in one place if they want to advance and he reflected how fortunate and blessed they had been to stay in Natchitoches. I observed their children participate at Trinity’s youth programs in the late 60s and know this may have required a little encouragement. From his many vantage points in life, I heard respect of tradition AND the willingness to explore a different path as he talked about how the church had changed he commented—all for the better … I guess.
Godspeed to this warrior. Warm regards for his family and friends of Knecht.
Larry Gracie NSU ’70