Matthew Etters is more than just a coach to his young student-athletes at Henderson Junior High School.
He is a role model on every level - and now those students are honoring him as he prepares for his third mobilization in the Navy Reserves since becoming the junior high athletic coordinator in 2005.
The 8th grade boys football team is wearing stickers on the right side of their helmets with the letters “CE” for Coach Etters.
Fourteen-year-old Hayden Nimmo, who plays center and tackle, came up with the idea to support Etters and had the stickers made at Signs Express.
“I think I can speak for the whole team when I say he knows how to inspire us,” said Hayden, who is the son of Robert and Angie Nimmo. “He has made a big impact on my life.”
Troy Kimbrough, the father of 8th grader Kallan Kimbrough, contacted the E-T about the story.
“Coach Etters is a great guy,” Troy Kimbrough said. “The way he interacts with those kids is amazing. He is a good role model and that’s what we need these days.
“What he means to these kids is a reflection of who he is as a person.”
Etters said he was surprised and humbled to learn about the stickers.
“I had no idea they were doing that, I was touched,” Etters said.
Etters said the thought of another deployment that will take him away from his family and students during the middle of the school year is “emotional.”
He said over the years of coaching and teaching he has changed the way he interacts with students.
“I’ve developed a rapport with these kids,” Etters said. “I try not to be negative and positively correct them. I’m kind of goofy too and I have learned to let loose and have fun and I think the kids enjoy that.”
Note: Coach Etters has requested that the E-T not publish the location or date of his upcoming deployment for security reasons.