PRAIRIE GROVE -- Lance Staggs beholds a clear view of his late father, Ed Staggs, renowned for his love of children recently honored by the school where he coached and taught.
The image remains sharp and in focus. A father nurturing his offspring benefitting from love without any strings attached and "hands on" training that gives children a sense of identity, belonging and empowerment. Ed Staggs fulfilled others through living a life of purpose.
Ed Staggs was one of three people inducted into the Prairie Grove Hall of Pride in a ceremony held Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 before the varsity girls and boys basketball games against West Fork.
During the induction ceremony, announcer Doug Smith said Staggs always loved the young men and women he coached. That carried over into his teaching and eventually to the elementary school.
Edd Staggs' legacy endures in Prairie Grove much like the timeless gospel song, "The Unclouded Day," written by Josiah Kelley Alwood in 1879. An anointing crowns the song that even when performed by musicians not known for a Christian testimony such as Eagles' drummer, Don Henley, who recorded it on a 1982 solo album, the message resonates across time and distance.
During his years of coaching Ed Staggs made a point to call local newspapers after ball games and other sporting events to report scores. He contributed to press coverage of the Tigers by writing numerous articles and took photographs for the Prairie Grove Enterprise, predecessor of the Enterprise-Leader. This eventually led to his own column entitled, "A Clear View on a Cloudy Day."
Spearking the evening of the ceremony Lance Staggs remembered his father.
"He was the best father anybody could ever have," said Lance Staggs. "Me and my sister, he loved us unconditionally."
Smith noted the street that runs from Jenkins Road in front of the Prairie Grove Senior Center and up to the old elementary school, which has since been torn down, parallel to the football stadium was named Ed Staggs Drive to serve as a reminder of the lasting impact Ed Staggs had on the school and community.
"My dad, he coached me whenever I was growing up, as well," Lance Staggs said. "He always made a point to coach me and all of my friends and he loved everybody."
As a child Lance Staggs was allowed to stay up past his bedtime with his father so the two could watch Monday Night Football together.
Lance Staggs said. "That was back in the day when Howard Cosell, those guys, but we stayed up and watched football and we'd both end of falling asleep before the game was over. It was great. That's some great memories."
When Lance Staggs was in high school, he helped his dad coach baseball.
"Back then it was Little League," Lance Staggs said. "I just loved being around him and he taught me so much about life and everything."
Ed Staggs coached at Prairie Grove from 1965 through 1971. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and took a year off, then resumed teaching at Prairie Grove High School. He taught Social Studies for two years before he became principal at the Prairie Grove Elementary School, where he remained until his retirement in 1982.
The family resided on Mock Street and Lance recalls a conversation that illustrated the connection Ed Staggs felt to children of the community.
"One of the things that is very meaningful to me is whenever he retired (after being diagnosed with cancer), mom would always tell me he would sit on the front porch after school just to watch the kids walk by," Lance Staggs said. "Because he loved kids so much, he wanted to see them as they left school. It meant so much to him and it was very special."
Ed Staggs coached all sports including: football, basketball, track and field, as well as baseball. His first year at Prairie Grove (1965-1966), he coached the final year of girls basketball. After dropping the sport, Prairie Grove resumed girls basketball in the early 1970s. Ed Staggs also taught physical education classes, sponsored the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which he helped establish, co-sponsored the Lettermen's Club, and served as a class sponsor. He made several senior trips to Washington D.C. as a senior class sponsor.
In addition to Ed Staggs, Donald Ledford and Eddie McClelland were honored as the Class of 2018 joined former Prairie Grove coach/athletic director the late Mike Green, who was the initial inductee into the Hall when the honor was established in 2015, and four people inducted in 2017.
Ed Staggs had connections to McClelland, whom he coached against while at Greenland; and Ledford, whom he coached in junior high and senior high at Prairie Grove.
"To this day I see Donald at One Stop and he always tells me things about dad," Lance Staggs said.
While barbering in downtown Prairie Grove, McClelland related tales of competing against Ed Staggs.
"I used to go down to Eddie and get my hair cut all the time and Eddie would tell me stories about how they would play against dad when he coached at Greenland," Lance Stagg said. "He would tell me stories about that it. It was awesome. It was great. Everybody that played for him, everybody that against him, loved him. He was that type of guy."Sports on 01/02/2019
Print Headline: Clear View Of Unclouded Legacy