Hall of Fame Spotlight: Rockledge Coach Chuck Wood – Transforming Boys Into Young Men
By Charles Parker // February 4, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Coach Chuck Wood’s teams won back-to-back state championships in 2001 and 2002. He is a three-time Cape Coast Conference Coach of the Year (1992, 1994, 2002), the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year in 2000, and the Gridiron Report (Sunshine Network) Coach of the Year in 2001.
CHUCK WOOD – 2015 INDUCTEE
• Back-To-Back State Championships
• Florida Dairy Coach of Year
• Sunshine Network Coach of Year
CENTER AT OLE MISS
Way before longtime Raider football coach Chuck Wood was a household name in Rockledge, he had been named the 1969 Most Valuable High School Lineman and a member of the AP/UPI 1st All-State Team in Tennessee.
He went on to play for Ole Miss where he was a three-year starter at offensive center and played in the 1971 Peach Bowl.
But for Wood, who is retiring from Rockledge High this year after 30 years of coaching there, it has always been more about the coaching career than the playing one.
“I got into coaching because I felt like I knew how to treat young men and how not to treat them,” he said. “This was all based on my own playing experience in high school and college.”
And evidently, Wood’s method worked.
His teams won back-to-back state championships in 2001 and 2002. He is a three-time Cape Coast Conference Coach of the Year (1992, 1994, 2002), the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year in 2000, and the Gridiron Report (Sunshine Network) Coach of the Year in 2001. He also was the offensive line coach for the Florida/Georgia All-Star game in 1998.
But it isn’t personal accolades that come to his mind when he thinks about defining moments.
“The one that stands out the most is the 2001 play-off game at Belle Glades Central,” Wood said.
“They were No. 1 in the state, had a 48-game win streak and had won the 3A state title three years in a row. Rockledge won the game 21-14 and shocked the football world in the state of Florida. We still had to go through an undefeated Lake Wales team to get to the finals, but winning at the Glades in that hostile environment, we felt like we could compete with anyone.”
As well, for Wood, it hasn’t all been about the X’s and O’s either.
“How would I like to be remembered? That I made young boys into young men who knew the difference between right and wrong and who would be a positive addition to our society.”
One of his former players, Matt Martin, who now coaches for Rockledge rival Merritt Island said, “He was a ‘players’ coach.’ He cared about every kid on the roster and had some type of relationship with all of us. We felt more like sons than we did players. We could come to him for anything and he would always help us the best he could. He always had a joke at practice or something that would keep the mood light but when it was time to go to work, we worked.”
Wood is also a man who gives credit where credit is due – even in the sometimes puffed-up ego-driven world of the gridiron.
“I would be a damn fool to think all of this is about me,” Wood opined.
“There are so many people who had a great deal to do with our success. Administration support, great coaches and, of course, the great athletes who played every Friday night.”
Yes…it has always been about the coaching.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
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