Former NFL player talks to Pine Plains football team
PINE PLAINS — Football legend Rich Glover, who played defense for both the University of Nebraska and eventually in the NFL for the New York Giants in the early to mid-1970s, stopped in to visit with some up-and-coming footballers in Pine Plains, recently. It was part of Stissing Mountain High School varsity coach Jim Jackson’s efforts to build a successful feeder program for the high school teams and drum up local interest in football.Glover was invited by Jackson to speak with the area’s youth, mostly elementary and middle school students, on Sunday, March 27. He was both casual and motivational: On one hand he recalled meeting President Richard Nixon with the rest of his Nebraska team in the Oval Office and he stressed the importance of staying in school.“These are my greatest accomplishments,” he said, standing behind the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award; he won both in 1972 and is only one of 10 players in the country to win both awards in the same year. But instead of showing the students his athletic achievements, he held up his academic milestones, including his high school diploma and college degree.Jackson and Glover have known each other since coaching together at San Jose City College, years ago. Recently, the Pine Plains varsity football program has struggled its past few seasons, Jackson acknowledged, but he said he hoped that a sustained interest in the program, bolstered by having role models like Glover coming to speak, will help build Pine Plains football from the ground up.“When I first came here,” said Jackson, in his fourth year as head coach in Pine Plains, “there was no feeder program. We’re definitely heading in the right direction now.”Dozens of children and their parents filed into the Stissing Mountain High School gymnasium to hear Glover speak, right after their sixth week of practice with the town’s recreational program. Jackson said that the number of players participating had reached more than 50.“It’s about hard work and making that commitment to the team,” Glover told the group.