By Josette Schlafer
By now you may have heard or read that the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame Class of 2013 includes our very own Cumberland County School Board Ninth District representative Dan Schlafer. The luncheon to induct the new members was held on Saturday, April 20 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro. Close to 30 of Schlafer’s family and friends honored him with their attendance at the luncheon, including Fairfield Glade’s notable residents, Art and Dorothy Meharg. TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress noted, “Induction into the TSSAA Hall of Fame symbolizes excellence in educational athletics and is only a small token of our appreciation for what Schlafer accomplished throughout the years. It is an honor that is not freely distributed among administrators, coaches, officials and contributors in Tennessee high school sports. It is one that is earned by individuals that have been cornerstones of our organization.”
However, what you may not know is this month Schlafer also received TSSAA’s Distinguished Service Recognition Award. The TSSAA News (spring edition) states, “TSSAA is proud to recognize Dan Schlafer for his many years of work, dedication and the contributions he has made to students through his work as an administrator.”
Ronnie Carter, retired TSSAA Executive director as well as the first and only Tennessee administrator to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame, said to Schlafer, “You are the first to have the Hall of Fame recognition in the same issue of the TSSAA News as the Distinguished Service Recognition. I can tell you this is very serious with all the staff and the selection is a staff decision. To be in that group of people is a sign of great respect by the staff and people across this state. Well deserved!”
When asked to comment on her husband’s accomplishments, Josette Schlafer said, “From the time I was introduced to “Coach Schlafer” in the cafeteria at the Tennessee School for the Deaf in August 1980, I knew there was something very special and good about this man. It has been an honor to call him my friend since that day and a joy to be married to him for the past 27 years. I am so proud of Dan and delighted that TSSAA is recognizing his achievement in high school athletics with these two latest accolades. Never forget this is the same man who had the “coaching rug” pulled out from under him in 1992, the same year he won his 100th career football game while coaching the Cumberland County High School Jets. Although there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t miss his first passion –coaching football, he never allowed it to get in the way of doing what’s right and best for students. If you find your life full of lemons, Dan’s the man to show you how to make lemonade!"
These awards are indeed well deserved. Congratulations, Dan!