On top of his stellar reputation as a social studies teacher and coach of four sports at Farragut High School, the late Lendon Welch also stood out in David White’s mind for being “very intense.”
An assistant coach on the Admirals’ 1963 undefeated football team, coach Welch “liked to stress conditioning. I don’t know how many times he had us doing that darned duck walk from one end of the football field to the other. That was one of coach Welch’s favorite things,” said White, a senior All-County offensive and defensive end on that 1963 team.
For all of that intensity, “He was always grinning, always smiling. He wasn’t going to get in your ear and chew you out and call you names,” White added. “He just worked our butts off and grinned and laughed about it.
“The conditioning that he put us through actually paid off.”
A member of FHS Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2013, honoring almost 40 years of his coaching accomplishments dating back to 1958, coach Welch and wife, Charlotte Welch, met with tragedy early last week.
The couple drowned in a boating-related accident in Center Hill Lake, DeKalb County, Monday, Aug. 7. He was 84. Charlotte was 83.
“I think he was a favorite of everybody around here,” Lynn Sexton, former varsity basketball head coach at FHS [1961-1991] and teacher, said about Lendon. “I don’t know that he had any enemies. He was a genuine person.”
“Lendon Welch was probably the greatest booster Farragut High School athletics has ever had,” said Doug Horne, FHS Class of 1963 and a long-time Admirals sports and academics supporter.
The entrance road from Kingston Pike to Farragut High School was named in the coach’s honor a few years ago: Lendon Welch Way.
“We all believe, ‘If you can live the Lendon Welch way,’ you will be a great success in life,” Horne added.
Horne is owner of Horne Radio, LLC, and Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress.
Lendon “was strong on discipline, we respected him tremendously,” said Richard Hobbs, a senior halfback on that 1963 unbeaten team.
Coach Welch and Bill Clabo, head coach of the 1963 team, “were great men, men of God, men of integrity. Helped young men to become men of integrity,” Hobbs added. “Thousands of lives they touched.”
Moreover, Lendon “inspired me to get into coaching. I coached the junior high [team] there at Farragut for about 10 years,” Hobbs said.
“I really enjoyed seeing him and talking to him and visiting with him some 50 years later after high school,” White said. “He would come to all of our reunion things.
“I learned a lot of life’s lessons from him and coach Clabo,” White added. “Coach Welch was a fine, all-around good man. I highly respected him.”
“Even after he retired [in 1993], he helped the coaches,” Horne said about Welch being eager to continue his support of FHS athletics.