Coach James Day has retired after 31 years in education, the past three of those years in Taylor.
As a Duck, he taught English 1 and coached football and track. Of all the experiences throughout his career, his best memories are of the relationships he developed with students and athletes.
“It is really a blessing and an honor when students and players come back to visit you and then tell you how you helped shape their lives,” said Day. “I had the privilege of hiring some of my ex-players to coach for me after they graduated college. That is a really neat thing to be able to do.”
Day knew he wanted to become an educator while playing sports in college. He wanted to stay involved with athletics, and teaching and coaching gave him that opportunity.
He began his career in Brackettville in 1989, reaching the playoffs during his second year. From there, he went to Midland Lee where his team won three state championships, and then to Floydada where he began his work as a defensive coordinator.
In Borger, Day coached the No. 1 3A defense in the state, making the playoffs each year. During his final five years there, he served as head coach.
“We made the playoffs each year,” said Day. “I got to coach my son and watch him make the all-district team and play in the ASCO All-Star Game. We made it to the second round of playoffs his senior year.”
In Taylor, Day coached several track athletes that made it to state.
“I got to work with two different state champions,” Day said. “That is a real honor.”
For new teachers and coaches entering the profession, Day has four pieces advice.
The first is to relax and not stress over every little thing. The second is to have a strong work ethic and to be dependable. The third is to be honest with students, athletes, and co-workers. Never promise something you cannot deliver. And the fourth is to be on time.
“Some of the best advice I ever got as a young coach was, ‘Early is on time, on time is late,’” said Day.
Looking back, Day says he has enjoyed every one of his years in education.
“There really is nothing else in the world like teaching and coaching,” he said. “You are blessed with the chance to make a difference to somebody each and every day. Often it will not be until years later when you find out how much you meant to a student, but when it happens it makes all the difficult days seem way less important.”