Being an Attorney is not the only area this Pampa icon excels at. For the past 50 years, John Warner has been coaching the Glo-Valve Service Dodgers for the Pampa Optimist Youth Club. In his years of coaching, Warner has fostered a community of team spirit, dedication, and sportsmanship that transcends generations. As well, Warner and Glo-Valve Service Dodgers have a cumulative total of 28 league championships under their belt.
Warner began his coaching career when his son was just 11 years old. At the time, Warner offered his assistance to Curtis Fletcher, the manager for the Pampa Optimist Baseball team, as the previous coach moved to Kansas. For four years, Warner and Fletcher worked as a team until Fletcher retired from coaching. Thus, Warner took on the mantle.
In a unique circumstance, Warner has been the coach for Glo-Valve Service every year since its creation.
In the past, Glo-Valve had been one of Pampa’s finest businesses. In the 1980s, the business moved its location to Oklahoma. Despite moving, the owners, the Odoms, still wanting to support the Pampa community, made a deal with Warner: as long as Warner is the coach, they will sponsor the team.
“I don’t think either one of us expected it to last this long,” Warner chuckled. “The Odoms were wonderful sponsors. They furnished us with practice caps and would buy the kids hamburgers when they would come to the games. They were very good supporters of the Pampa Optimist Baseball.”
Meredith Bagwell, Warner’s niece, spoke about her uncle’s love of baseball.
“He loves baseball; he knows the sport backward and forwards,” Bagwell said.
As for his 50-year coaching history, Bagwell explained the meticulous recordkeeping Warner has done throughout the years.
“He keeps records of every kid on every team he has coached,” Bagwell said. “He has something called the Glo-Valve Circle of Honor where if kids break certain records, they get awards. Those records include which kid has the most home runs and which one has the most stolen bases, things like that.”
Husband and wife duo, Cary Rushing and Daly Mendoza have had their kids on Warner’s team for many years.
“My youngest son is on his team. My oldest son, he’s 21 now, was on Coach Warner’s team, too,” Mendoza said. “He’s on a traveling baseball team and still plays for Optimist. He loves Coach Warner and counts the months when he comes back to play with the team.”
Rushing, who is in his second year coaching with Warner, spoke about Warner’s coaching ethic.
“We practice every weekday. He has the first 15 practice days of the year scripted,” Rushing said. “The coaches each get a detailed notebook of what we will be doing for those 15 days.”
Mendoza spoke highly of Warner’s coaching skills.
“The way he coaches - not only are these kids getting better at baseball, but they also learn to be good citizens,” Mendoza said. “Coach Warner teaches them to be better versions of themselves.”
With 50 years of experience, Warner has cataloged the stats of each player since the beginning of his coaching career.
“Every game, he takes down the stats of each kid. He’s been doing it for years,” Rushing said.
Rushing and Mendoza expressed their appreciation for Warner.
“I thank him for giving our boys a chance and for coaching them,” Rushing said.
“Coach Warner is an asset to Optimist and Pampa. We are lucky to have him and we are lucky to be under his coaching,” Mendoza said. “I feel like he has made history. We are grateful and lucky to call him Coach.”
Warner commented on this season and how his team has done so far.
“I think the kids are having a good time; I think they are having fun,” Warner said. “They’ve put forth a good effort.”
In honor of his many years of coaching baseball, Warner had this to say, “I’ve had good parents, I’ve had good coaches, and I’ve had good kids.”
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