COACH ED PEPPLE
Ed Pepple (1932-2020) was a great high school basketball coach for 49 years in the state of Washington, 42 of those years at Mercer Island High School. For those winning years, he had been inducted into Washington Sports Hall of Fame. He himself had been the point guard at Seattle’s Lincoln High School in 1950 and later team captain at the University of Utah.
Here is a typical, yet special, phone conversation I will remember and cherish forever. (Ed always wanted to talk about Fred Crowell; I always wanted to talk about Ed Pepple.)
“Coach, I just called to see how you are.”
“Thanks for the call, Ed. So good to hear from you! My computer ate many of my cell numbers so I’m sorry I have not been calling you. Ed, I didn’t recognize your voice, the voice of a coach. Are you ok?”
“Well, I have a few problems, but I don’t have any bad days,” was the response in a small childlike voice.
“Ed, I promise to bring my new Words of Hope book to you in October. And please promise me you will get well while I will promise you the same.”
“I promise, but please say a special prayer for my wife Shirley of many wonderful marriage years. I love you and also promise to pray for you and your family.”
Walking down the stairs to my office, I had a butt dial call from Ed; he had been sitting or lying back in a wheelchair. Little did I know this would be my last conversation with Ed, a goodbye call. This one call is evidence of the greatness of Ed Pepple. This truly remarkable man was also the grandfather of Matt Logie. Matt had become my dear friend when he became the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Whitworth University.
To me, Ed Pepple had more integrity and commitment to excellence in one finger than most men I know have in one entire hand. In awe, I contemplate Ed Pepple’s phone call just a few days before his death. How does a man in serious pain, in full knowledge of imminent death, have the compassion to call those he loves? At such a time, what manner of man has more interest in another’s life than his very own?
Ed Pepple gave me a gift far greater than he ever could have imagined. Ed died as well as any person I have been blessed to know. He is my new role model.
My hope is you will take a few minutes to read the attachment I have selected. I chose this one because of the photo of Ed and his grandson, Matt Logie. Both men I greatly respect, admire and love.
Thanks, Coach. You win again! I had hoped to beat you to heaven. I expect you to be next to our Lord when He calls me home. It will be a great day. For now, I will do my best to imitate you, Coach Ed Pepple.