Column: Central's Livingston is a rare breed
Editor's note: This article was originally published Aug. 28, 2014. Central York announced Dec. 18 that it would open up the head football head boys' volleyball coaching positions, ending Brad Livingston's tenure.
In today's world of constant change, Central York's Brad Livingston is a rarity.
And not just for his longevity, although the fact that this season will be his 33rd as head coach of the Panthers makes him a legend among local coaches.
"He's extremely loyal to Central York, and they are lucky to have him," said West York coach Ron Miller, who will open his ninth season with the Bulldogs. "Honestly, he's part of a dying breed."
Miller, who has had unprecedented success at West York, said he doesn't expect to see peers stick it out as long as Livingston or former South Western coach Don Seidenstricker, who spent 26 seasons at the Mustangs' helm.
"Historically, in his tenure, he has the best high school football program in York County," Miller said of Livingston. "Who knows, he may be doing it for 30 more years. He has found that balance, and I tip my hat to him."
Dallastown coach Kevin Myers met Livingston in 1991 when the latter coached a War of the Roses team that Myers played on.
"He's someone I have looked up to for the things he's done over the course of his career," Myers said. "I've asked him a number of times how was he able to do it for this long."
To put Livingston's longevity in perspective: He has been the Panthers' head coach for more than twice as long as Jon DeFoe of Bermudian Springs, who is next in seniority in the league, entering his 16th season.
Spring Grove coach Russ Stoner said Livingston keeps himself young, something Stoner witnessed many times during his 16 years as an assistant under him at Central. Stoner said when Lady Gaga was popular, Livingston said his favorite song was "Poker Face" and would dance on the field at practice.
And it's not just football. The 66-year-old Livingston has been the Panthers' volleyball coach for 13 seasons and won two PIAA Class AAA championships.
"He's one of the most intelligent men I have ever met," Stoner said. "Even though Brad is the elder statesman, football has not passed him by. Volleyball has not passed him by, and kids have not passed him by. It's all about the kids and all about the competition with Brad."
Myers and Miller also marvel at the success Livingston has had with volleyball. And neither can imagine coaching for three-plus decades.
"I absolutely admire Brad. I think so much of him for many things," Miller said. "He's won two state volleyball championships. I can't imagine doing one, let alone at the level he is able to do it, and the way he's done it — with pure class."
Stoner added that Livingston does not get enough credit for what he's done in football, where he has been one of the area's most innovative coaches throughout his career. He'd love to see his former boss coach the Big 33 game.
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Livingston has mastered the art of delegating, whether it's letting offensive coordinator Matt Baker call plays, or having assistant coach Todd Goodling run things on the volleyball court. But when it's time for Brad to take over, he will certainly do that.
"There's a reason why we all stuck around for that long. It was the single most toughest thing I did was to leave that staff," Stoner said. "For me, I never wanted to let him down. He was my mentor, the guy I was trying to impress. He's the guy that gave me the opportunity to do the things I am doing right now. I am grateful for that."
"People will talk about his state championships and winning, but if you go back and talk about the great lives he's impacted ... the great dads, doctors, lawyers he's helped produce," Miller said. "I want to beat his butt every time we compete, but when I shake his hand at the end of the game, I really respect him."
Steve Navaroli covers high school sports for GameTimePA.com.