News 12 at 6 o' clock / July 16, 2011
THOMSON, Ga. -- Two days after the death of Luther Welsh, hundreds came out to Thomson High School to pay their respects.
It was a fitting service for a man who always wanted his team to win at life.
Outside there was a flag hung at half staff and a bench bearing his name. Inside, there was a filled auditorium, football-geared casket and living examples of his legacy.
John Barnett, Welsh's long-time assistant coach spoke to the crowd: "God bless Luther Welsh. I'm sure the good Lord called him home because he has a team that needs coaching or maybe some grass that needs some cutting."
Just as coach carried his team, they carry his legacy.
Welsh's wife, Anne, passed away from cancer a week before. For some of those in the crowd, these were two lives lost too soon.
Barnett says, "I can also see Luther tonight dancing with Anne to 'Carolina Girls ... Best in the World' because for him, she was the best in the world."
Their mother and father being together again is what brings closure to their daughters.
"I know it meant so much to him to be back at the home place and that will be my closure when I know he's laid to rest by my mother," one of the daughters said.
As Coach Welsh said, to have a strong program you need a community behind you, and it's one that's been standing behind them.
Luther Welsh coached at Thomson High School for almost 20 years and led the team to three state titles, but many of his players will tell you he taught them most about winning at life.
His funeral service was held at a church in St. Charles, S.C., where he was buried alongside his wife.