By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(March 28, 2019) What started as a standard Board of Education meeting on Tuesday turned into a celebration of two local educators, who each became emotional, as they learned a soon to be renovated athletic complex would be renamed in their honor.
Stephen Decatur High School’s athletic complex will be renamed the Robert G. Knox Field and Louis H. Taylor Stadium, after football head coach Bobby Knox and Worcester County Schools Superintendent Lou Taylor.
Stephen Decatur High School Principal Tom Sites and Worcester Technical High School Principal Tom Zimmer, who is a former Stephen Decatur principal, jointly made the announcement.
“We’re proud of the traditions coach Knox has brought to our school,” Sites said. “Many of our student athletes, such as our current superintendent Mr. Lou Taylor, have prospered under his leadership. Coach Knox has taught Stephen Decatur High School for 46 years, serving as a role model to many teachers.”
Knox was in the room during the announcement, but was asked to attend the meeting under the guise of a completely different topic.
“They tricked me,” Knox said. “[Sites] told me that they needed me to say some good words about the new athletic field.”
Knox has been a teacher with Stephen Decatur High School since 1974, when he began his career as a social studies teacher and assistant football coach to then head coach Tim Moore. He took over the head coaching position in 1983.
During his tenure, Knox’s teams have won 25 championships, nine conference championships, made 10 state playoff appearances, and earned four regional championships. His teams reached the state semifinals twice, in 1998 and 2004.
In 2018, Knox was inducted into the Maryland High School Football Hall of Fame.
The room was filled with emotions as Knox struggled to speak after being surprised with the dedication.
“I don’t have any words,” he said, clearly moved. “I thank the board, thank the Toms and, especially, I thank all the players that played for me.”
Knox pointed out several people in the room who taught under him or worked as coaches alongside him. Some were in the audience as teachers and parents. Others were members of the board, including Taylor and Barry Q. Brittingham, Sr.
He also thanked the people behind the scenes that led to this moment.
“I’m overwhelmed. I’m thankful of so many great assistant coaches I had work with me, and players play for me, and to be able to teach [and coach] in Worcester County Schools,” Knox said. “I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming the whole thing.
“I’m the one getting noticed here, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes, like assistant coaches, administrators [and] former players who are part of this award too,” he continued.
Taylor, who was formerly a student, teacher, coach and principal at Stephen Decatur for several years, was also humbled by the announcement.
“This is the greatest honor that I’ve ever received in my years [with] this school system,” Taylor said. “One of the things that Tom [Zimmer] shared was that I was the number-one cheerleader for Stephen Decatur High School. I’m also the number-one cheerleader for this school system.”
Taylor said he was honored “To be associated first and foremost with Stephen Decatur, and be associated with Bob Knox, my football coach, my boss as an assistant when I worked with Bob for 11 seasons, and then to have the opportunity to work with him for 17 years as a principal, and now the role that I play.”
The superintendent was so touched by the decision that he was left speechless. A running gag with the board claims Taylor can’t stop talking when it comes to Worcester County Public Schools.
“It does go very deep with me and [is] very personal for me. It’s like a dream come true,” Taylor said. “I just can’t fathom the thought of my name being on something that I care so deeply about and have cared over the years.”
The complex is expected to be completed this fall.