Sasser Still Enjoying the Thrills of Competition
June 18, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
When Glenn Sasser played tackle for the Wolfpack under the late Earle Edwards, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was at its peak. The Cuban Missile Crisis had the entire world on the edge of nuclear holocaust.
When Sasser faced some Russians, among others, as a 66-year-old senior citizen in the Masters World Games in Lahti, Finland, 50 years after he left Tarboro High School, the world landscape was 360 degrees different, but his psyche hadn’t changed very much.
His throw of 45 feet, nine inches gave him the gold medal in the Masters Games. He beat a German and Russian participant to win the title and that gave him a sense of satisfaction he’d been craving since those Cold War days.
At Tarboro and at NC State, besides playing his favorite sport of football, Sasser participated in the shot put event in track and field competition. As a freshman at State, he set the school record before giving up participation during his sophomore, junior and senior years to concentrate exclusively on football.
“I really enjoyed track and field events,” Sasser noted recently. “But playing for coach Edwards, I couldn’t do both with spring football.”
So after his playing days in Raleigh and in St. Louis as a member of the NFL’s Cardinals, Sasser kept in shape all through the years – and it paid off in the Masters Games.
At 69 years of age, He’s still throwing the shot put and may decide to continue to compete. Shortly after the interview for this story, he was scheduled to go for his daily physical workout.
“I’ve always liked the gym – even though we never had physical training like they now have in high schools and in the college game,” he continued. “It’s hard to believe we were on our own as to physical conditioning while playing football back in my day.”
Under Edwards, Sasser played on two ACC championship teams in 1963 (8-3, 6-1) and ’64 (5-5, 5-2).
“You know, the 1965 team also won the title,” Sasser remembered. “But we didn’t get any rings in those days. To Debbie Yow’s credit, we’re now wearing championship rings because she finally got them for us.”
After his brief stint in the NFL, Sasser became the youngest head football coach in North Carolina at 24 years of age when the late Wilmington legendary coach Leon Brogden interviewed and hired the Tarboro native.
“Geez, here I was that young and a head coach at the largest high school in North Carolina,” he said. “Coach Brogden, whom I thought more of than any other coach, knew that I would be coming into a situation with a solid group of assistant football coaches who became legends themselves in baseball – Buck and Bill Hardee.”
Sasser was an assistant at the time in Fayetteville. “Coach Moody (head mentor) told me to go into that situation under the pretense of not knowing everything, but taking advantage of their experience and expertise,” continued Sasser.
Over his coaching career, the former Wolfpack standout guided New Hanover High teams over two different stints, started Laney High’s football program before going to Charlotte Myers Park and taking the Mustangs to an unbeaten regular-season at 10-0 in 1982.
He returned to Southeastern North Carolina to coach the South Brunswick Cougars to a 10-2 season in 1987 and the Waccamaw 2A championship.
After his coaching career, Sasser entered a lucrative real estate business as an appraiser.
And his advice to today’s high school and college coaches?
“You’ve got to keep it simple,” he noted. “Lou Holtz once told me that to be successful in football, your personnel had to be able to perform within their own capabilities. You shouldn’t ask them to do things well that they weren’t capable of doing.”
by George Cox, GoPack.com