Editorís Note: June is always a big month around high schools. There is graduation and the end of the scholastic careers for seniors, plus Fatherís Day, which is Sunday.
During previous Junes, Tom Williams has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Erik Geisinger, Doug Colman, Allie Moreland, Tracey LeFever, the Degenhardt sisters, Scott Parker, Chelsea Bruno, Danielle McNally, Dave & Casey Beyel, Mike Campo, the Donahue sisters and Shaune McLaughlin, among others, to write about their fathers.
This week, Mainland Regional grad Matt Coffey and his brother, Ty, a senior at Mainland, write about their father, Bob, whose 30-year football coaching career at Mainland ended in the fall after four South Jersey championships, nine CAL titles and the third most wins in CAL history.

A Fatherís Day tribute to Bob Coffey

By Matt & Ty Coffey
Guest Sports Columnists

They always say, ďItís the things you canít choose that make you who you areĒ. For the most part, that statement is true. You do not get to choose the situations you are put in, you donít get to choose who your siblings will be and you surely do not get to choose your parents. We truly feel blessed that we were not able to choose, because we know we couldnít have picked a better father than Bob Coffey.

For those of you who know our dad, it is pretty easy to say he is a laid back guy. He doesnít talk much, he doesnít brag and he is always smiling. Growing up with our dad as a teacher in the high school we attended, it was always a blessing to see kids walk up to us and tell us about how Mr. Coffey was their favorite science teacher. Then we move to the football field, where our Dad accumulated South Jersey championships, 187 wins, and multiple awards for the impact he has made in our community.

Those accolades truly do not describe him as a father. They truly do not show the work he puts in at home to make his family happy. To Bob Coffey, family is everything. Every second we have together is precious. We always used to joke around with him because during dinner, he would never let us watch TV, because dinner was meant for spending family time together. On the weekends, he would always walk into our rooms asking if we would take a bike ride with him. Reluctantly, wishing we could just watch TV, we would say yes because we knew how precious those times were to him.

We truly felt the proudest we have ever been of our father was when he was able to be so emotionally strong when our community suffered a tragedy in 2011. When four football players passed away, he was able to become a force we leaned on for help. People from across the county were looking to him for support and, despite being upset himself, he was able to put others before himself and be a rock. When asked about how he was able to be so strong and comforting, he simply said, ďI was just doing my job. I was just doing what my parents raised me to do.Ē

That statement proved to be true. During his childhood, he grew up in a modest home with five people. His parents taught him that respect is key and hard work is how we will get places in life. The greatest lesson they taught him is ďAnything worth doing is worth doing right.Ē He exemplified that statement, as did his two siblings. After working hard in football, he was able to receive a full scholarship to play running back for the Clemson Tigers. His brother became a Golden Glove boxer, as well as a bodyguard for the Admiral of the Navy. His youngest sister pursued a degree in law, where she became District Attorney in the state of Delaware.

Our dad would never tell you these things though. He would never tell you anything to make himself look higher up than others. He doesnít brag and he looks at everyone the same way. Having a father like Bob is something that we truly believe is a blessing. As he is approaching 62 in October (he will only admit that he is 35, though), he continues to work 12 hour days, just to be able to give us the opportunities that donít come easy to many.

This Fatherís Day, we want to show extra gratitude to our father Ė not just for being an A+ dad, but an A+ friend as well.

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