Brad Livingston's original reaction to nearing a coaching milestone was to downplay it.
When asked what it would mean to achieve 200 victories, the Central York High School football coach said it just meant he's been around a long time.
"Older than dirt," the veteran coach said.
However, as he closed in on the magic number, Livingston had a change of heart about the significance of 200.
Not because of any personal agenda.
Instead, Livingston wanted all the young, and not so young men, he's been associated with for 32 seasons to receive their due.
"An awful lot of players and an awful lot of coaches have contributed to winning all those games," said Livingston, who will enter Friday night's game at South Western with 199 victories. "The bottom line is that it's nice and a privilege to be here, and I'm not going to downplay the importance of it because that wouldn't give the players and coaches the recognition they deserve."
George Shue, who earned 226 victories at Littlestown and Red Lion, and Dennis Frew, who won 220 games at Delone Catholic, are the only York-Adams League coaches to record 200 victories.
Matt Baker played quarterback for Livingston's team back in the mid 1980s and went on to an NCAA Division I college football career at Temple University.
Baker returned to Central as an assistant to Livingston. Since 2000, Baker has been the team's offensive coordinator.
"Brad hasn't changed a lot over the years," Baker said. "He's very demanding, and he has a great relationship with young men. He's always had a way of intertwining what you do in football with everyday life. Things like being prepared and learning time management."
Baker said that Livingston gives his assistants a lot of leeway in making decisions.
"I call the plays, although I'll let Brad know what I want to do on offense," Baker said. "We battle on some things. I learned a lot (about play calling) from Coach (Ellsworth) Kissinger (the former offensive coordinator)."
Russ Stoner called the defensive signals for the Panthers for 10 seasons before becoming the head coach at Spring Grove in 2011.
"Our football program is emulating a very successful program at Central," Stoner said. "I want to be a youth advocate. Brad taught me that. I want to care about kids."
Livingston was only a youth himself when he decided that his future would be in teaching and coaching.
Earl Walbert was my line coach (when Livingston played football at Central), and I ended up at West Chester (University) because of him. He had a big influence on me," Livingston said.
Livingston earned a degree in health and physical education and returned to his home town to begin a teaching/coaching career.
He's been with the Central football program for 44 seasons (counting his years as an assistant) and has been a head coach and assistant coach with the boys' volleyball program for almost as many years. Livingston also was the head wrestling coach for a couple of years.
A 1966 Central graduate, Livingston and his wife, Lori, have four children.
Lori Hewlett Livingston, the girls' field hockey coach at Central, was an outstanding field hockey player at Shippensburg University. She's in the college's athletic hall of fame.
"Lori did a great job raising the children because I wasn't always around due to coaching," Livingston said. "She understood about athletics and all the time they took."
Asked what keeps bringing him back to the sideline every year, Livingston said: "It's fun, and I still like working with kids. I've been able to adapt to changes in society, and I've had some young coaches who have helped me do that. I've been able to be the head coach of two sports because I'm fortunate to have great coaching staffs."
Dylan Hose, a senior, plays both football and volleyball for Livingston.
"He has pretty much the same approach to both sports, although I think he gets a little more intense for football because it's the nature of the sport," Hose said. "He's seen it all. He knows the game and has the experience of being in just about every type of situation."
Hose will always remember the attitude and demeanor that Livingston brings to practice every day.
"He has such an upbeat attitude. He'll come out on the field singing," Hose said. "We're excited about Friday night's game. Hopefully, we can get Coach Livingston his 200th win."
- Reach Dick VanOlinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.