Former Clayon football coach Glenn Nixon said he didn't remember his teams ever losing a game.
That, he said, was the key to keeping your sanity and coaching high school football for more than 25 years.
"We won them all," he said. "Or at least we won all the ones worth remembering."
Nixon, 80, died Tuesday morning after battling brain cancer.
Nixon came from New York to play football at N.C. State and never left. He built a football program at Clayton that centered around the community. Clayton already had embraced football -- the school's principal let the students out to pick cotton to earn money for uniforms -- but Nixon made the high school games even more special.
He was succeeded by Gary Fowler as head coach and the two men have been the school's only head coaches in more than 50 years.
Nixon had the ability to be competitive without being mean-spirited. He was witty, funny and disarming. His friends teasingly called him, "The Legend."
"But you know, he really was," said former student manager, player and assistant coach Andy Pleasants. "He was a legend."
One night after his punter faked a kick and was tackled far short of a first down, Nixon explained, "That's the great thing about coaching 16 and 17 year olds. Nobody knows what they are going to do. Not even the coach."
Another night, the Comets played in a driving rainstorm at Apex. Nixon said the last time he had played in weather that bad he'd been wearing a leather helmet. That may have been true.
After he retired from coaching, Nixon became a painter. I wondered why he'd want to paint houses and garages. "Portraits," he said. "I paint portraits."
He painted well enough to have his works displayed at the Clayton Center.
His painting portraits wasn't a surprise. He was always a people person.