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Posted: Aug 31, 2009  09:33

Lovin' Badger Football for Thirty Years


As a child here in Bonners Ferry, David Koon used to watch football with his dad on TV. Being a loyal Detroit Lions fans in the late seventies and early eighties made a lasting impression on him, enough so that when he entered Bonners Ferry High School in 1979, he asked then football coach Doug Cox if he could manage the team.

For four years, David took care of the water, equipment and other details for the Badgers. In return, he said that he got to "hang out with a lot of upper classmen because he knew them on the team."

After David graduated in 1983, he enjoyed working with the players so much that he just kept on showing up at practices. Year after year, he has been involved with the football team as a volunteer coach. This year will be his 30th year as an honorary assistant coach for the Badgers.

"I feel like I am a motivator for the kids," he said. "I get the kids all psyched up to go out and play their best. When I see that a player is having an off day, I try to go talk to him and see what's wrong and what's going on. I'm on the field if anyone gets hurt. I don't tolerate a lot of anger, language, rough housing or bad mouthing. We always try to work it out, no matter what is going on."

David related that he spends close to 20 hours per week with the football team, especially in August when they practice twice a day.

"I just enjoy being out there with the kids," he emphasized. "I like the crowd. A lot of former players still come up to me and say hi, like at the All-Class Reunion. I even still remember most of the kids' nicknames. I never get tired of it. Some days that are hot aren't too fun, but I don't ever get tired of it."

One of the highlights of David's life was when he received a blue and white BFHS letterman's jacket from the team several years ago.

"It was during a football game," he remembered. "The coach called me and said "I have to talk to you." I said, "Did I do something wrong?" The coach said, "No, just walk down this tunnel." The football team had all lined up and made a tunnel of their hands. As I was walking down the tunnel, I saw a kid at the end holding a jacket. I saw the jacket and then I grabbed it and held it high over my head. The stands erupted with applause. Not just the Bonners Ferry crowd, either, but the St. Maries fans also. I got teary, believe me. I was a really happy camper. I had always wanted a letterman's jacket. I had a gray and black one as a kid but I always wanted a blue and white one. Everybody says I should wear it all the time but I keep it for special occasions like homecoming. That was about the neatest thing I ever got."

David's love for the Badger football teams he has helped coach shines from his eyes when he speaks of his years with the athletes who work so hard to represent Boundary County so well. David said that he has no plans to stop coaching even though he keeps busy as a member of the Lions Club and as a fire fighter for North Bench Volunteer Fire Association.

"I plan to keep going as long as I can and as long as I have the health for it. Even when I can't do it anymore, whether I'm in a wheelchair or a walker, I'll always be in the stands. I always say that I want my funeral to be at the 50-yard line," he laughed. "I don't want to get paid. I just enjoy being a volunteer. I want to thank the community for letting me be part of the team for so many years."


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