"Surround yourself with good people and let them do their jobs."
His father's words of advice have stuck with Brad Livingston since he began coaching for the Central York School District. For the last 30 years, Livingston has been the Panthers' head football coach and has compiled a 187-124-4 record and eight York-Adams League Division 1 titles.
After spending 12 seasons coaching junior high boys' volleyball, Livingston moved up to the high school and in 2002, became the head coach when Bruce and Barb Koller retired. Since then, he's added four York-Adams crowns, two District 3 titles and the PIAA Class AAA 2011 state championship to his list of accomplishments.
It's no wonder the 64-year-old Central York graduate was recently selected for the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.
In this week's Sports Q&A, we caught up with Livingston to discuss his football and volleyball careers, the people who have shaped him into the coach he is today, and his reaction to being selected for the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.
When did you start playing football?
I went out for football for the first time as a ninth grader and was so bad that they didn't even issue me a uniform. Actually, I think it was almost an equipment problem. I remember I got a uniform later in the year when somebody got hurt. When I went to high school, that changed and I did play for three years and became a starter as a junior in high school. My high school coach was Joe Stauffer, and I feel real privileged that he was my coach and thankful to call him a friend today.
You experienced an injury your last game of your high school career. What hap pened?
We were playing a game up at Hanover. Late in the game I was in a pile up and blew out my left knee and tore an ACL and some other things and ended up going into surgery. I did at least get to play my full senior year. I was hoping to (play in college). My line coach, Earl Whalberg, had played down in West Chester and I had my heart and soul set on going and playing football there. I ended up going to West Chester, but the doctors wouldn't let me play anymore.
Did you play volley ball in high school?
I didn't play volleyball in high school, I played baseball. I went to Central York High School and graduated in 1966. At the time, we didn't have a guys' volleyball team. Back in the 1940s they had a team, but for some reason they didn't have it at the time I was in school. They started it back up just about the time I came on board as a teacher.
Why did you decide to coach volleyball?
I got hired for a teaching job and assigned to North Hills Junior High School, and I was told that part of my duties would be to coach the boys' volleyball team. That coincided with the exact time that Bruce and Barb took over the varsity program.
As a coach, you spend a lot of time teaching others. What has being a coach taught you?
Bruce and Barb were my volleyball mentors and Elsworth Kissinger and I worked together on Jack Goodling's football staff and he was my offensive coordinator on my staff for about 17-18 years. He's a great friend and he is the guy that taught me how to be a head football coach. I would say that I have matured as a coach and am a much better coach in the last 10 years simply because I listen more and I talk less. I've been fortunate to be around some great coaches. On our coaching staffs, it's a collaborative effort. That's the kind of leadership position I've evolved into. I'm going to listen to my assistants and my players. We learn from each other. Another thing is, I'm not afraid of change at all. I have no problems with change in a lineup or substituting a player. If it's going to make us better, we're going to do it. It's what's best for the team.
Were you surprised to find out you had been nominated?
Being inducted into the York Area Sports Hall of Fame was a total surprise. I really didn't get a hint of anything that was going on regarding the hall of fame. I had a couple of strange questions from some people over the past couple of months about records and stuff like that. I knew something was going on but I didn't know what.
How did you feel when you found out you had been selected?
Without my wife, none of this would be possible. She's been my rock and my strength through all of this. First of all, it is a huge honor. I have been in the Hall of Fame and I've seen the plaques of the people on the walls and it's very humbling to know I'm going to have a plaque on that wall. I'm also realistic enough to know that the reason I'm fortunate enough to be in the Class of 2012 is because I've had tremendous support at CYHS and I've coached with great people. I'm very grateful for that. Finally, I've just been blessed to have great student-athletes on the teams that I've coached. I'm 64 years old and there's nothing in my life I would change about my career. I have to give the credit to the people I've been around.
-- Reach Abigail Hor sman at sports@yorkdis patch.com.