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Reaves will be missed, and not soon forgotten
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Right now I am green with envy of Putnam County, particularly its football program. Fitting, since as I write this it is St. Patrick's Day.

Hopefully, my spiteful feelings will subside. But in the meantime, I must not think about what is outside my control.

I first met Ben Reaves on Sept. 15, two days after I began working for The Covington News. It was such an exciting time for me personally.

Now, this isn't why meeting the Newton head football coach stands out - it was his likable personality which I admired.

At the time, I was a bit timid and shy, simply because I was the new guy in town. Not that being new is anything well, new to me, since I'm an Air Force brat who traveled the world based on where my father was stationed. But most of you know what it's like to be the new person in town, school, church or any kind of organization where previously you knew absolutely nobody - it can be slightly intimidating.

Upon walking into his office on that Friday afternoon, Reaves was genuinely pleased to meet me, and he welcomed me with open arms. We had a good discussion about his team among numerous other things, such as his background, family and his relationship with The Covington News.

Instantly, I realized two things: Reaves really cares about his program and he absolutely loves the game of football. In fact, the Newton field house is littered with newspaper clippings and posters regarding his former teams and their accomplishments.

Reaves welcomed me as he did his players, and I literally felt like I had once played for him on the gridiron. (Of course, I probably would have been the tackling dummy since I'm 160 pounds dripping wet.) He offered to help me find a place to live when I moved here, since at the time I was commuting from Marietta. Reaves also frequently invited me to team gatherings and cookouts, and his hospitality was mere proof I was going to have a positive relationship with him.

Although I've only come to know Reaves for six months, it seems as if we've known each other longer. Many people say this regarding different friendships, but this time it's the God-honest truth. I will very much miss his laid-back style and upbeat enthusiasm, but I suppose in time all good things must eventually come to an end.

Putnam County will no doubt benefit from the hiring of Reaves - he proved it in 1998 during his first year at Newton and he will again prove it for the War Eagles.

Good luck, Coach Reaves.