50 Stories for 50 Years: Remembering a Coach

Ken Smith (’97) remembers Coach Bill Wohlford who coached football at FPD from 1996 – 1998. 

After he fought the good fight for the last time, Coach Bill Wohlford went to meet God on March 16, 2019. The Coach’s life is so full of godly influence it is difficult to begin to estimate how many lives he helped shape.

For me, it is best summarized by what I saw at his Celebration of Life service this April 13th.

Jack Nichols, Mark Holloway, and I sat in a pew in the church with teachers and colleagues there in support. The Coach’s own family came out in mass to celebrate his life and love for God. Of course, we enjoyed listening to the beautiful testaments given from each of those who spoke.

I have to say that our classmate John Roberts’ recount of Coach’s influence in his life was particularly powerful to this group of young-ish husbands and dads.

With great emotion, John told a very simple story of the Coach, who, after our lackluster showing at an FPD football game, greeted his wife Teddi out on the field. In a quiet moment with no pomp or circumstance, he hugged her. It was no consolation hug, nor was it a passing gesture. In fact, Coach hugged her that night just as he lived his life, in celebration of the woman God sent for him.

In his speech, John talked about the impact that made on a teenage boy, seeing this tough Coach open his arms and love his wife, as a godly husband. It made John take note of the many examples Coach gave in his daily life of how to be a better, more godly man and husband. Coach celebrated his wife, built her up and bragged on her every chance you would listen. And if you know Teddi, you know why… she is deserving of his every effort and more.

I ran across the Coach many times since high school. His energy and excitement never waned. The Spirit always poured out of him, and the Coach always found a way to teach me something by just sharing his life. Frankly, his strength was catching.

As I listened to John speak at his funeral, my eyes filled with tears and it reminded me of the lessons Coach gave me. I went home and celebrated my own wife and children. Just like the Coach, I will keep celebrating them until my time comes and I get to meet my Creator.