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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Monett coach receives football honors

Friday, February 26, 2010

Monett High School's Alan Spencer has received back-to-back honors over the past few weeks.

The long-time football coach who announced his retirement this fall received the Charlie Long Distinguished Service Award from the Joplin Football Officials Association last Tuesday and then three days later attended a ceremony where his #40 football jersey was retired at Webb City High School.

The Charlie Long Award was presented to Spencer by the award's namesake before the start of a varsity basketball game against Cassville on Feb. 16.

"This award is given in appreciation for years of distinguished service to the youth of southwest Missouri," said Long in presenting the award to Spencer. "And for outstanding leadership and commitment to fulfilling the stated purpose of the Joplin Football Officials Association."

This is only the third time the award has been handed out and the first time it has been given to someone who is not a sports official, Long said.

Long, who officiated football games in the area for 50 years before retiring this season, said he has been a fan of Spencer's since his days of playing high school football.

"I knew Alan ever since he played at Webb City in high school," said Long. "I also worked with him when he was at Nevada, Neosho and Monett, and I worked with him for nine or 10 years as Monett athletic director."

Long describes Spencer as a class act.

"I've never seen Alan raise his voice to officials," said Long. "He's a top notch individual. He's the kind of guy I'd like my kids or grandkids to play for because he'd teach them the right things about life."

Last Friday night, Spencer returned to his high school alma mater and walked onto the high school basketball court with his high school football coach Tom Gosch, as the #40 Cardinals football jersey was retired in honor of Spencer's accomplishments on the football field.

Spencer was a three sport athlete at Webb City, playing football, basketball and track. He earned the position of runningback his senior season after suffering injuries that limited his playing time during his sophomore and junior years. As a basketball player, Spencer earned All-State honors twice, and on the track, he was a state champ in long jump.

"I've been blessed," said Spencer "God gave me some talent. I also had great coaches and parents."

Out of high school, Spencer was recruited by Pittsburg State University on a football and track scholarship. He ran track for two years, played baseball for one year and even played a season of junior varsity basketball during his time at PSU.

Spencer was a four-year letterman in football and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1973. He was eventually cut and returned to PSU to earn his degree in education. In 1974, Spencer was recruited by the Detroit Lions and played in games against the Colts, Raiders and Chiefs before injury led to his release from the team.

Upon graduating from PSU, Spencer began a high school coaching career that would span 35 years and include tenures at Neosho, Nevada, Parkview Central, Rogers, Ark., and Monett.

When asked how it felt to have his high school football jersey retired, Spencer said it was an honor to be selected.

"When you look at the Webb City Hall of Fame, there's some pretty good athletes there," said Spencer. "My going in is just a reflection of our group. Without their help as a team and without the coach (Tom Gosch), this would never have happened.

"And it's the same with Football Officials Association award," continued Spencer. "It's a reflection on our program at Monett. It's a reflection on the kids.

"We're all in it together, and I am just the lucky one they remembered," Spencer added.

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