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North's Cross quits

November 11, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

North's Cross quits



Glenn Cross has always been a stickler for detail.

Over his 19 years of coaching football at North Hagerstown, Cross has been called disciplinarian, a perfectionist and a tyrant. All are names for someone who prefers things to be done one way ... the right way.

On Friday, Cross got his way one last time. The Hubs did things right for him one last time, handing Cross one last title - ex-coach.

Cross announced his retirement from the sidelines before the start of the 44th edition of the City Game - the annual battle between North and South Hagerstown. And what started out as the backdrop of a game with so much meaning, ended up being the overriding factor in the Hubs' 7-6 victory at School Stadium.

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For the last time on the football field - at least for now - everything went the right way for Cross.

His team won. He got a Gatorade shower and lifted on the shoulders of a team that felt the crack of his cane, the wrath of his word and the love in his heart. And most of all, Cross got the chance to leave the way everyone dreams of leaving - on his own terms.

"I've been thinking about it for some time," Cross said as the eye in a storm of activity that swirled around him. There were the handshakes and hugs of friends, family, former players, current players and well-wishers. "I thought about leaving at the end of last year, but I didn't want to do it after going 1-9."

He came back for one last hurrah. He got the chance to coach his son, Tanner, in his senior year and the chance to leave with a winning record. And with a win his final game.

"This is super," Cross said, surveying the field with a tear in his eye and a frog in his throat. "This is great for the kids. Look at them over there with all smiles and tears. This is what it's all about."

Cross' pending retirement was the subject of swirling rumors for much of the year. He kept it close to the vest, informing the Hubs on Monday. But son Tanner knew better all along.

"I knew about it about a year ago," the younger Cross said. "It's my last year here but he's still having trouble thinking about leaving all the juniors and sophomores. He had to do it sometime because it wasn't going to get any easier. My dad came in at the half and yelled at us like he always did. Then he turned and said, 'I'm done yelling. This is my last game.' We knew we were going to do it for him."

Cross only notified principal Dave Reeder and athletic director Marcia Nissel about his decision. It was made public with an announcement by Reeder before the game.

Even though it was his last game, Cross worked like it was his first. His excitable nature and gruff instructions along with countless times of ripping the headphones off his ears were his trademark.

Please turn to CROSS, B2

He paced like an expectant father, covering many a mile on the sidelines. On Friday, the final couple of steps finished the marathon.

"I'm going to have two sons in college now and my wife has stood by me for 26 years of this," he said. "Family is very important to me. It's time for me to be with her ... she'll probably send me back to coaching."

The Glenn Cross era ended at North, but it ended in the same way the coach loved to end every season ... with a win and some vindication.

"It's like I said before. Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt," Cross said. "You don't want to rub it in, but you still want to be the one who is able to say, 'I won.' I won."

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