(Photo by Zach Jevne) [Order this photo]
McGaffin, coach of the Tigers for 28 years until 2007, heard from friends and former players before addressing the crowd Saturday afternoon at the high school field. The coach of two state championship teams in Spencer (1990 and 1997) thanked the many people who helped make such a day possible.
"I'm humbled and a bit embarrassed to accept this honor when it took the sacrifice of so many people and players to make it happen," McGaffin said. "I was blessed with a great network of family and friends. I was blessed with players who weren't just great players but also great young men who were willing to sacrifice. ... Without great players, success doesn't happen."
Friends and former players, including Bob Rose, Brian Dirkx, Dan Cotton, Mike Morony and Rod Potratz, addressed the crowd before McGaffin. Each shared what Coach McGaffin meant to them. (See below)
"I was deeply connected with all the players I've coached over the years. It's the players who provided me with the memories and provided me with inspiration. What I'll cherish the most is the relationships I've had over the years - with parents, players, opponents, and yes, even umpires," McGaffin said lightheartedly.
"This celebration is not about me, it's about we. Coaches, players, family, friends. It's amazing what we can do when we take 'I' out of the picture," McGaffin said in closing.
A free hamburger dinner was served during the Spencer - Sioux City West game that followed the field naming, which Spencer won, 9-4.
Spencer head coach Brian Dirkx: "I feel blessed to have worked with him for 13 years as his assistant. He's like a father-figure to me."
Dan Cotton, Class of '84: "His enthusiasm was infectious. His attention to detail helped every athlete reach their potential. He was a mentor to so many. The city is fortunate to have had his teaching and coaching for the past 30 years."
Mike Morony, Class of '86: "I learned so much about not just the game, but about being a person. Every moment, good or bad, was a teachable moment for Coach."
Rod Potratz, Class of '88: "The things he taught on the baseball field translated to real life - accountability, be on time, do your job, attention to detail, and humility. Win with class and when you lose, hold your head high. Not a day goes by where I don't think about him or the things he taught me. I'm successful today because of the those things."