Henry “Hank” Daggett, Josey’s first football coach, died Monday. He was 85.
Daggett went 54-81-3 in 16 seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, leading Josey from 1964 to 1979. In 2011, the school honored him by naming its new fieldhouse after him.
The coach’s death comes less than three months after Laney lost its coaching legend, David Dupree. The two men were the first inductees into the Augusta City Classic Hall of Fame in September 2011.
“Daggett and Dupree became who they were not because of X’s and O’s,” said Laney alumnus Roscoe Williams, who played basketball at Paine College when Daggett was an assistant coach at the school. “They didn’t all of a sudden become icons. They worked hard and they had character, integrity and values.
“What we hope for is that there’s other Daggetts and Duprees who will follow.”
Williams worked with Daggett at A.R. Johnson Junior High School, where Daggett worked as an administrator. When Josey began, Daggett took the reins of the initial squad in 1964. The Eagles went 4-1 that first season. He would add just two more winning campaigns the following 15 seasons.
“It was a start-up program,” Williams said. “It went through some rocky patches, but he also had some success. I think his role modeling meant as much to the kids as anything.”
Daggett had two moments of glory against Laney. In 1967, Jerry Wilson scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns from 19 and 34 yards to rally Josey from a 14-2 deficit. The Eagles recovered a fumble inside their own 10-yard line in the closing minutes to preserve a 15-14 victory against the defending state champs.
In 1973, Josey seemed set to break a 6-6 tie with a late field goal. But Daggett called a fake instead, and Ceaser Curry drove Laney’s defense over the goal line for a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining.
Though Daggett didn’t have as much on-field success as some other coaches, Williams said “Uncle Hank,” as he was known, was a legend off the field.
“He had an enormous impact on kids,” Williams said. “He provided a lot of tough love for them. And they respected him quite a lot.”
Staff writer Scott Michaux contributed to this story.