March 11, 2011

Division Avenue High football coach Jerry Jewell was immortalized as the tall, dark stranger in a Maverick theme song parody

The old coach is still going strong. This photo was snapped at the class of 1960 reunion in 2010

Jerry Jewell was a physical education teacher, department chairman and football coach at Division Avenue High School for decades. Some of us remember him as early as around 1956 when he was a young gym teacher out of Cortland State. He built a great Blue Dragons football program, one of the best in Nassau County.

The class of 1961's John Kinstrey played on some of coach Jewell's early teams and recalls that the players, not to his face, referred to him as Tonka, Chief and Wahoo because he resembled a Native American.

"I think my teammate Carl Kielbasa hit on Tonka," said Kinstrey. "These names were terms of endearment which never left the confines of the locker room. The little ditty we made up about him went to the tune of the original Maverick TV show theme song starring James Garner."

Who was the tall dark stranger there?

Jerry Jewell is his name.

Beating a path to who knows where,

A whistle’s his companion

Wind sprints are his game.

Run along all you clods

Tearing up all the sod

Run it on down the field

And back again.

We’ll be here 'til five

And unless you come alive

We’ll be on this football field 'til ten.

Your blogger's recollection was that maybe John Kinstrey's 1961 classmate and football teammate Tom Lux had written lyrics. Here is his poetic reply.....

Tommy was talented, have to admit

But had nothing to do with the writing of it.

Daydreaming in class consumed most of my time

So I dabbled and pondered the challenge of rhyme.

The infringement of copyright I did take on

By the time they caught up

I long would be gone

So I stole the Maverick tune like a thief

And put in pentameter our Indian chief.

Mr. Jewell attended the 50th reunion of Division Avenue football last year as well as the 50th reunion of the pioneer class of 1960. According to some of his players from the old days, their coach's early nicknames still seem appropriate. John Kinstrey has been crowned by your blogger as the Poet Laureate of DAHS football.

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