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When Wayne Kersey meets students and athletes of his late son, Indian Land High School wrestling coach and Indian Land Elementary School teacher Mike Kersey, he says he can see his son’s spirit.
Coach Kersey, who died last fall as a result of an ATV accident at his home, continues to have a lasting impact on his students and athletes.
Kersey’s familiar words – “Don’t pace yourself, push yourself” – were an inspiration to those he guided in class or the wrestling arena.
“He used to say that all the time,” Wayne Kersey said.
“Every time I look, I see Mike in you,” he told the students and staff gathered at the dedication of the Coach Mike Kersey Memorial Track last month at Indian Land Elementary School.
“Keep his spirit shining and keep being what he wanted you to be. We want to read the markers about you guys one day, what you do in life,” Wayne Kersey said.
The seventh-of-a-mile track is built around a playground off the school’s back parking lot.
Mike Kersey’s notable words to motivate a student or a student-athlete are a fixture at the track.
Those words are fitting reminders of how Kersey pushed many students to reach their potential, no matter the odds or situation. Simply give it your best, no matter what you do – with no regrets and no excuses.
The completion of the track project was a reflection of what Kersey meant to the Indian Land community.
Dallas McRorie of RAE Contractors in Charlotte, whom coach Kersey first contacted about building the track, stepped up to build it at no charge.
The Loving Group in Indian Land later agreed to do the landscaping at no cost, with former PTA president Kevin Sexton pitching in with the sign donation.
“It shows the impact that Mike had on the community that they’d come forward and do this for the school in his honor,” said Indian Land Elementary School Principal Beth Blum.
Not long after the ceremony to dedicate the track, the Indian Land Elementary students hit the track to show their zeal to carry on, even though their coach is gone.
As Kersey’s father said, his son’s words motivating students to give it their best is still part of the school’s landscape and mindset.
Long live coach Kersey’s inspiring words to maximize one’s potential. Let’s all strive to live up to them and encourage others to do the same.