Early in his coaching career at Mount Markham, varsity soccer Coach Charlie Engle had a ritual before the start of the preseason.
When he started in the late 1960s and through the 1970s and into the 1980s Engle’s teams had their cleats provided by the school. As boys outgrew them or graduated, their shoes passed to the next player.
Engle spent summers fixing the spikes on the cleats and cleaning the shoes. The night before practice started, he laid the cleats out, along with a Mustangs practice T-shirt, uniform shirt and shorts.
Starting with the seniors, the players would choose their gear. Before the team went for their final night of sleep before Engle’s legendary tough preseason conditioning began, he had one bit of advice.
“Be ready to go, boys.’’
That’s one of the stories his son Chris shared at the funeral last week for the beloved soccer coach, who passed away at age 73 after numerous health issues for several years.
Chuck or Charlie, depending on how you knew him, coached the old-fashioned way. Sparing with compliments, quick with ways to get a player to improve.
And, let’s be honest, Coach Engle never saw a call go against his Mustangs he thought was a right one. Not once in 48 years. He was not shy sharing that view with referees either.
He learned his flair for coaching from one of the masters. Engle was on the first...