In this file photo, Parkview head football coach Cecil Flowe is seen on the sidelines during a game.
As high school stadium names go, Parkview has a pretty cool one, The Big Orange Jungle.
The field is fittingly named, too, as Karl Bostick Field recognizes the Panthers’ longtime athletic director, boys soccer and cross country coach.
But somehow, some way, the high school needs to find room for another name somewhere. After Cecil Flowe retires in December, his name should adorn the place where he led a football program to an unprecedented amount of winning over the last 21 seasons.
No football coach has won more games in Gwinnett County than Flowe, who made his official retirement announcement after last Friday’s win over Central Gwinnett, and only a select few area coaches — Central’s Tally Johnson is the only one who comes to mind — have stayed with the same program that long.
The Panthers won four state championships under Flowe and set a state record with the most impressive winning streak in Georgia history of 46 straight from 2000 to 2003. He took 17 of his teams to the playoffs with a remarkable run of 15 straight appearances that ended in 2009. He also had a spell where he took 11 straight teams to the state quarterfinals or beyond. A huge number of talented players, seasoned assistant coaches and community support factored into that success, but so did the guy leading the charge.
As of 2005, Flowe had a 152-25 record, a winning percentage at 86 percent. That percentage is slightly lower now, but his 196-66 record is still pretty impressive.
Though the talent pool in the Parkview district isn’t what it once was, Flowe has kept his program more than competitive. Some of his best coaching jobs have come in recent seasons, like his 9-4 team last fall. Not expected to do much, the Panthers upset Grayson, ranked No. 1 nationally at the time, during the regular season and won two playoff games in overtime before falling in the state quarterfinals.
As important as the wins were, Flowe’s presence stabilized the Panthers’ football program, from the time he took over under tragic circumstances (when good friend and former Parkview coach Chuck Mize was murdered) to the recent seasons when it’s gone through a number of changes. He loves the high school and the Parkview community, maybe even more than he loves auto racing. And if you know Flowe, that’s saying something.
For all he’s done at the Lilburn high school, it’s nearing the time to give him a proper tribute.
It’s just a matter of finding the right place at The Jungle.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at email@example.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.