By Tim Chambers
He’s not General Custer or Crazy Horse but Johnson County is glad to have their version of “Little Big Horne” on their side. Paul McEwen Stadium has been his battlefield for 25 years, so it would be easy to for him to toot his “Horn” but he won’t do so.
Gary Horne goes quietly about his duties as an assistant coach and equipment manager for the high school team and receives no compensation for what he does. His love for the kids and Johnson County’s football program has kept his batteries charged for two-and-one-half decades and his value can’t be measured.
“I just help Coach Don,” he chuckled about describing his duties. “I take care of all the equipment and wash the uniforms. I usually spend most of practice fixing helmets and overseeing some drills. I no longer do the X’s and O’s. I stay busy with all the other stuff.”
Horne spent several years as an assistant coach at the middle school before moving over to the high school program.
“I just go wherever they need me and I do whatever I am asked to do,” added Horne. “I love the kids and I love Johnson County football. I always wanted to play the game.”
Horne tried to play all the sports as a freshman but a medical condition forced him to give it up due to doctor’s orders.
“I had some severe migraine headaches that kept me from playing,” said Horne. “The doctors advised me to give it up because medicine wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I would have given anything to play. Today’s kids don’t know what they are missing out on when they have the talent and pass up a chance to play. Some say it’s not the end of the world when a kid has to sit and watch. It almost killed me because I missed out on doing something that I loved.”
Horne embraces the duties that he has been given by head coach Don Kerley. He loves being on a staff where each one pulls his own weight.
“All these men are more than just coaches. We all have other duties. They do everything from working on the field to cleaning up the field house and locker room. They always stay until everyone is picked up.”
Horne detailed his average workweek and the time he puts in as a coach.
“I am here usually two to three hours each day during the week and sometime 10-15 hours on Friday if we have a road game. I try and finish up if we play at home because all the other coaches are here. I usually come in and finish up on Saturday if we have a road game. But it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed doing.”
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