After 32 years of service, David Price Sr. is stepping down from his position as coach and president of Smyrna-Clayton Pop Warner.
Most of us can’t imagine doing the same thing for 30-plus years, especially when that something is done on a volunteer basis. However, Price quickly became the heartbeat of Smyrna-Clayton Pop Warner, helping them grow into one of the most well respected programs in the youth football and cheerleading organization.
Like most parents, Price wanted to be involved in his children’s lives and activities. As fate would have it, 32 years ago Price’s oldest son wanted to join Pop Warner Football and the rest as they say, is history.
“Smyrna-Clayton was starting a new division in football, the peewee division,” said Price. “At that time my oldest son was old enough to play there. Since it was new they did not have people to coach it. I took on an assistant coaching job, moved to head peewee coach the next year and moved up to a midget head coach, which I coached up until this year.”
Price modestly claims that not much has changed within Smyrna-Clayton Pop Warner, aside from the town increasing in size and an influx in rule changes. And perhaps that stability is why Price stayed with Pop Warner long after his children had moved onto higher levels.
“What made me stay that long? That’s a good question,” Price said. “It became a part of my life, like getting up in the morning. The other day it hit me, I was doing this a year longer than I was married.”
Price may downplay the accomplishments of the program under his watch, though the impact he had is undeniable. Not only has the program grown on the field, but they routinely produce stars in the classroom as well. Nearly every year they have nominated scholastic winners who are recognized as All-American Pop Warner Scholars, an award given to players who excel on the field and academically.
While Pop Warner is a program for football and cheerleading, the participants’ academics are viewed as equally important part. In fact, Pop Warner is one of the only youth sports organizations that keep an eye on a player’s academic progress during the school year.
After 32 years of service it can be hard to pinpoint what Price is most proud of during his time with Smyrna-Clayton Pop Warner. Price gave credit to the many people he worked with along the way, and takes the most pride in the accomplishments made by the kids who have participated in the program.
Page 2 of 2 - Another highlight has been “working with the good people who have helped to make Smyrna-Clayton the best run local program in the Henlopen, and I could say better than a lot of them out there,” Price said. “We have put scholastic winners in the national system I think every year, and I’m very proud of seeing my oldest grandson get the national First Team Senior Scholar award two times. Only 35 boys across the nation in that age group get (that award).”
Over Price’s career with Pop Warner he volunteered as a coach, vice president and president. His years of service will be hard to match. However, Smyrna-Clayton Pop Warner will be in good hands moving forward. Pat Ennis, former vice president and longtime assistant coach with Price, will take over as the new president, looking to continue what Price has helped build.