Coach Pete Stout cast huge influence on players
By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Hal Capps, longtime coach at Western High School and now on Elon University’s football staff, thought so much of Pete Stout, who had been his football coach at Williams High School, that he postponed his wedding so he could play some more for the man in college.
Joel Witherow, another former Williams player, considered Stout a father figure.
Stout, who guided Williams High School to two state championships as a football coach, has died. He passed away Sunday at age 86.
“He was kind of like a father figure to a lot of us players,” Witherow said. “At times, he was tough. At times, he was caring. He called his players his boys.”
Stout coached the Bulldogs to Class 3-A state titles in 1980 and 1981. Under his watch, the Bulldogs racked up 43 consecutive victories, which at the time established a state record.
Capps finished playing for Williams before the championship run, going on to play for Catawba College. He figured he was done playing with a year of eligibility remaining until Stout left Williams to take the Catawba coaching post.
He called his then-fiancée and said they needed to push back the wedding date so he could stay in Salisbury for another season. Capps said he couldn’t miss the opportunity to compete for one of Stout’s teams for a final season.
So the wedding came following another football season. He has been married for 38½ years – instead of 39.
“I would fight for that man, and a lot of my teammates were the same way,” Capps said. “To me and everybody that played for him, there are thousands and thousands of people that Coach Stout influenced.”
Witherow, who lives in Swepsonville, was a linebacker on the 1980 and 1981 teams. He said he cherished a reunion last year at a Williams game when the title teams were honored.
“It was wonderful to see him,” he said. “We got to go out on the field one last time with him.
“When I heard of his passing, I thought about how many lives he had touched, but, in particular, my own, Just the values he instilled in us. Before every game he would get in the middle of the circle and pray. That was such a blessing. God put him in my life and I’m thankful for that.”
Stout’s time as the Williams football coach set the foundation for what became years of excellence on the field for the Bulldogs.
Witherow said he involved assistant coaches, boosters, and team members’ families in the program.
Capps, who’s now director of high school relations for Elon University’s football team, said he owes his career to Stout, who push-ed for him to get Western Alamance’s head-coaching job that launched successful stints at multiple high schools.
“When I got the Western Alamance job, I got it because of Coach Stout,” Capps said. “I was told later what he did for me. That meant the world to me.”
Stout left Williams to return to his college alma mater at Catawba, where he coached for four seasons.
Stout’s record as a high school coach was 234-63-14, including 71-12 with Williams. He also had a state runner-up finish with the Bulldogs in 1978, before the championship years. A weight room at the school was named in his honor in 2013.
His other coaching stops in 28 seasons on the prep level included time at Altamahaw, Western Alamance, Salisbury Boyden, and Morganton Freedom.
Stout, who attended Haw River High School, is a member of the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday morning on Catawba’s campus.
A week later at 10:00 a.m. September 10, another service is planned for Burlington Memorial Stadium on the Williams campus.