Floyd left lasting mark on Poteau football history

(Editor's note: This is the first in a series of features that will revisit the historical figures of LeFlore County who have been recognized for their contributions. Throughout LeFlore County, buildings have been dedicated to people who many may not have known or may not remember. These features are dedicated to keeping the namesake's memory alive for future generations.) Sherman Phillip Floyd was born at Tahona in March 9, 1924 to King Phillip and Bessie (Morrison) Floyd. He was raised on a farm caring for crops of mostly cotton and corn. Floyd was one of six siblings, four boys and two girls. Floyd graduated from Panama High School in 1942, only months after the United States entered World War II. After high school Floyd attended Oklahoma A & M College, now Oklahoma State University and played football for one year. According to previous news stories, Floyd was the first freshman ever to "letter" at OSU, however, that was the first year that freshmen were elgible to letter. Within a week after taking final exams, Floyd returned to LeFlore County, went to the draft board and became a member of the Air Force.In an interview by Pete Hopkins of Poteau, Floyd said he was assigned to Sheppard Field at Wichita Falls, Texas, for basic training then later sent to Keesler Field in Biloxi, Miss., for airplane and crew chief training. Not long afterward, Floyd shipped out from Seaboard Johnson Field at Goldsboro, S.C. Floyd was a flight engineer who flew across the Himilayas multiple times in an 18-month tour. He was later transferred to the 14th Air Force "Flying Tigers." In 1945, Floyd met his soon-to-be wife, Linda Jones. In April 1946, the two joined in marriage in the study at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Ark. They moved to Edmond as they attended college at Central State, Floyd returning to school on a football scholarship. DUring that time, the Floyd's first two children were born and a third on the way.After graduating college, Floyd took his first coaching position in Jay, and in 1950, at the insistence of Elbert Costner, High School Principal at the time, Floyd moved to Poteau and began his local coaching career. That year, the Poteau Pirates, who had had a previous losing year, went undefeated, making it to the state finals.In 1969, Floyd retired from coaching and took the position of Poteau High School Principal until 1986.According to Hopkins, Floyd enjoyed woodworking and watching sports on TV after his retirement. In 1999, Floyd's name was marked on the history halls of Poteau football when the new fieldhouse was dedicated in his honor. On Feb. 22, 2013, at the age of 88, Floyd passed away. His wife, children, family, friends and many members of the community honored him a last time as they said farewell to him during services held at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.