YORK — The life of high school track coaching icon Bob Jenkins left a lasting impression among the coaching fraternity.
Those coaches and the community remembered Jenkins’ during a worship service May 2 at West End Baptist Church in Rock Hill. Jenkins died April 29 at the age of 79.
Eddie Sanders, who coaches cross country and track at York Comprehensive High School, ran for Jenkins and coached with the two-time National Coach of the Year.
“He was more than a coach; he was a father figure to us,” Sanders said. “We called him dad. Coach Jenkins cared about all of the kids, including those that didn’t run track.”
Sanders said Jenkins influenced his life beyond sports.
“My father died in 2004,” he said. “I was thankful I still had coach Jenkins in my life.”
The YCHS coach said Jenkins cared about every team member.
“If there were runners with little talent, he made them better athletes,” said Sanders. “I’ve tried to do that as a coach.”
Jenkins’ first public school coaching position was at York High School where he served as athletic director, assistant principal and head football, and track and cross country coach from 1965-1968.
Jenkins was respected by everyone in the coaching profession and stayed involved after retirement, said YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd said.
“He was encouraging runners as they passed by in last month’s Bob Jenkins Herald York County Track Meet at our school,” Boyd said. “We recognized coach Jenkins before the meet.”
Jimmy “Moose” Wallace, head football coach at Northwestern when Jenkins’ track teams were dominating the sport, has fond memories of the coach.
“He won a thousand track meets,” he said. “The Bible talks about being a servant. Coach Jenkins was a servant to everyone that knew him.”