Funeral services for former Huntington School coach Joe Meeks were held Sunday at Joe Meeks Football Field in Rayville.

Meeks was 86.

Meeks coached at Huntington from 1978-1982.

Former Huntington football standout Joe Champion, who played for Meeks   said Meeks was a competitive coach who who always treated him well.

"I can still see that silver hair, coaching shorts and tube socks pulled up," said Champion. who now ministers to thousands of people each Sunday as founding Senior Pastor of Celebration Church, a multi-site church with campuses in the Austin, Texas metroplex and in Mozambique, Africa.  "I loved playing for Coach Meeks and had a lot of fun on that team."

Champion said he will never forget a game at Huntington in which his father, Jim Champion, was helping Meeks as an assistant coach.

:We were winning 3-0 and had the ball a half-yard away from our own end zone with a minute left," Champion said. "My dad wanted us to take a safety, but Coach Meeks wanted to punt the ball. I had one bad snap my whole career, and it was on that play. We ended up taking a safety. I had no idea about what my dad and Coach Meeks were discussing on the sideline. I came off the field dreading what my dad was going to say to me. He told me it was the best snap I ever made. We won that game 3-2. I believe Coach Meeks always believed I did that on purpose, but I never knew about their conversation."

Daryl Daye was an honorary pallbearer for Meeks. Daye was a senior on the 1980 team.

Meeks came to Huntington from Riverfield Academy in Rayville.

"My first meeting with Coach Meeks came after we played Riverfield the year before in a playoff game," Daye said. "I was in the ninth grade and my cousin Jesse (Horton) was in the seventh grade. There was a tractor sitting in the field when we went to Riverfield and we let the air out of the tires and may have messed with the battery cables."

Daye said in the first meeting with Meeks, the new Huntington coach was upset with his new team right away because members of the team were talking while he was talking.

"He told us nobody talks while he is talking," Daye said. "Then he inquired about the tractor. He picked us out and asked us about it. We told him we did it. He pulled out a plastic bat with tape wrapped all around it. He called in black beauty. He said that was his personal tractor that we vandalized. And he introduced us to black beauty in front of the whole team. We got three licks each. Nowadays you can't do anything like that. But black beauty got our attention. He was old-school, very disciplined and very organized."

And he apparently did not like lightening.

"We were practicing once and one of those Louisiana storms came in so we went inside," Daye said. "We returned a little later and there was heat lightning going on. But then lightning struck a tree about 200 yards away. The whole team went running to the guy. Coach Meeks passed me and Steve Murphy - his starting running back and fullback going to the gym. I mean he shot right by us."

Daye said he learned a lot of football under Meeks.

"I take a lot of things Coach Meeks taught us and apply them to my 33 years of coaching," said Daye, who is now defensive line coach at East Tennessee State. "And they still work today."





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