Presnell#039;s accolades reached beyond field

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Tribune editorial board

Age finally managed to do what dozens and dozens of football's greatest defenders rarely did. After 99 years of living, time caught up with football great Glenn Presnell on Monday.

Strangers and fans closely associate Presnell with his exploits on the field as one of America's football pioneers. People unfamiliar with Presnell will point to his accomplishments on the football field as they look to describe the man. They'll reference his years as an All-American running back at Nebraska. They might point to Presnell's years of playing semipro ball in Ironton, and pro ball in Portsmouth and Detroit. He led the Lions to the league championship in 1935.

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But looking only at Presnell's on-field accomplishments would be like looking at only one half of the scoreboard. Presnell the man meant much more to this town and his friends and family who live here.

Presnell, known by those close to him as Pres, was a friend, a coach, a father, a grandfather and a husband, just to name a few.

He was also one of what television news anchor and author Tom Brokaw dubbed the "Greatest Generation."

After years of playing semipro and professional football, Presnell served three years in the United States Navy during World War II.

Following the war, he added "coach" and "mentor" to the many words used to describe him. Presnell touched countless lives in the decades he worked as head football coach and athletic director for Eastern Kentucky.

So you see, merely looking at the relatively brief years of the man's life during which he earned a living playing the sport he deeply loved is not an accurate way to describe Glenn Presnell.

While his exploits on the field made records at the time, modern day judges have somehow overlooked Presnell's name when looking to select people to be enshrined for the works on the field.

Despite their oversight, one thing is certain: God's team just got another ace player, a hall of famer in the game of life.