Q&A with Webb football coach Dave Meske
By Mark Nagi
Long-time Webb School of Knoxville football coach Dave Meske has announced that this will be his final season on the Spartans sidelines. Meske has been at Webb for 40 years and the last 38 as head football coach. Recently the Knoxville Focus caught up with Meske to talk about his career at Webb and why this was the right call for him and his family.
The Knoxville Focus: Why did you decide that this was the time that you wanted to retire?
Dave Meske: I just think you have a feeling inside that it’s time. Lyn (his wife) and I have a lot of things that we want to do, and we want to make sure we are healthy and can do those things. We love camping, have a fifth wheel RV and so now instead of going 2-3 days at a time we will probably go for a couple of weeks at a time. And you can only do that so long. So, we want to make sure we can do the things we enjoy and have that time to do them together.
KF: What is it that you have enjoyed so much about coaching that you decided that this was what you wanted to do with your professional life?
DM: I was fortunate to have three coaches in high school that were amazing to me and got me into coaching. Without them I probably wouldn’t have gone to college. I grew up with my great grandmothers. That’s who I lived with from 4th grade through my sophomore year in college. I was the first person from my family to ever go to college. Those three coaches introduced me to coaching and pushed me to go to college and get involved in coaching.
KF: What is it that you are most proud of during your time at Webb?
DM: I’m also the athletic director and I’m proud of the success of all our athletic teams. We’ve won 75 state championships at the school in all sports. I’m proud that all our programs are doing well. That’s probably the most in just seeing kids being successful. Of course, you are proud of the football program and the success we have had there. I’m also looking at kids that leave our program and make a difference and you see that happen… that’s important. I had a kid that was actually living in a shelter for a while and is now a doctor in Knoxville. Seeing kids achieve and make a difference in other people’s lives is what it is all about. Football ends for all these kids but what they learn from it hopefully goes on and makes a difference.
KF: Looking at this year’s team… you’ve gotten off to a great start. Do they have what it takes to make a deep run?
DM: I think so. They are playing well, and we have some really talented players. And some you don’t hear about are doing a great job. We are talented enough to be competitive, and we have some big games coming up that will challenge us. I think we have the potential to compete.
KF: Have you thought about what it’ll be like when spring practice or next season rolls around, and you aren’t coaching?
DM: I think that we will fill our lives with a lot of different activities. We are going to stay busy. We aren’t just going to sit at home. I’ll think about these kids, but I’ll do it from afar and keep up with them and wish them the best. They are important to me.
My favorite time of day is 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at practice. I enjoy practice more than the games because you get to know the kids and be around them and they make you laugh, and every day is different. But we will keep up with them.
My daughters graduated from Webb and my son in law is the wrestling coach at Webb and the middle school football coach. We will always be connected to Webb.