Chuck West Tribute

Weakley County Administrators Remember Chuck West
Posted on 11/10/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Weakley County Administrators Remember Chuck WestChuck West taught in East Tennessee before arriving in Dresden. His career in education spanned 43 years including a stint as teacher, assistant football coach and head basketball coach at Dresden High School before becoming principal in 1989.

“Coach West” died November 9. Visitation will be held at Dresden Church of Christ on Friday, November 12, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A funeral honoring his life will be held Saturday, November 13, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dresden Church of Christ. Visitation prior to the funeral will be from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery.

Principals and administrators were asked to share remembrances of their friend and colleague. The many facets of his personality and level of his commitment became clear as stories ranged from moments when the intercom microphone was still on and captured one of his favorite phrases of frustration to his ability to serve as “quiet inspiration.”

Here are a few of the thoughts shared:

“We are grieving the loss of a longtime educator in our system, Mr. Chuck West, who dedicated his life to the students and the community of Dresden. He was an example for all of us on how to serve and lead students. We are hopeful that his family can find some comfort during this time, and we look forward to honoring his legacy as we move forward.”
Randy Frazier
Director
Weakley County Schools


“Chuck was one of the first people I met and became friends with when we moved here over 40 years ago (1981). We taught together, coached together, and worked together as colleagues for all those 40 years. Chuck has been a powerful influence in my life. He was a great friend to me and so many others. He was a great husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle to all those in his family.
“Chuck has always been a man of the highest character. I’ve personally witnessed him do so many great things for people that they never even knew about. He’s done so much for his family, students, school, church, and community but never wanted any credit for any of it. He’s just one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever known.”
Jeff Kelley
Former Assistant Director
Weakley County Schools


"As a student-athlete at Gleason in the mid-late 90s, I only knew Mr. West as the fiery competitive coach on the Dresden sideline. As an administrator from 2010-present, I had the wonderful opportunity to see the other side of Chuck and had many wonderful conversations about all aspects of school life. The thing I will always remember about Chuck is how he ended every face-to-face and phone conversation with me.... ‘I appreciate you and holler at me if I can help.’"
Lee Lawrence
Principal/Athletic Director
Gleason School


“Chuck would coach the scout defense during football practice. His favorite “call-to-arms” speaking to the scout team was ‘I need 11 guys over here who want to hit ‘em, stick ‘em and make ‘em like it.’

“Chuck was very active in the basketball coach’s box. His facial expressions communicated more than words. He would sit and rub his head all the while thinking up a brilliant scheme for his players to gain the dominant position in the game. Sometimes the more entertaining actions were not the actual game, but Coach West and his number 1 cheerleader, Katrina, his wife, and their sideline antics. No student at Dresden or any other county school (once Dresden was not in the running) had a more avid supporter than Chuck West.”
Mark Maddox
Technology Coordinator
Weakley County Schools


“When I became an administrator at Dresden Middle, Chuck gave me one bit of advice. If you have ever been to his office, you will know that he had papers everywhere -- taped to the wall, taped to the filing cabinets. His desk was a hot mess, but he also knew where everything was. His advice to me was, ‘You know all that stuff on your desk? It will be there tomorrow when you get back. Don’t take it home with you. Leave it at work.’ I’ve tried to practice that as a principal.”
David Lewellen
Principal
Dresden Middle School


“Chuck was the guy that over the course of many years who would call and say, ‘I’ve got a question.’ But was very quick to answer questions, was very quick-witted, and just great to be around. When he was in the room, you felt his presence and that’s something we will all deeply miss.”
Jeromy Davidson
Principal
Westview High School


“We’ve been lifelong friends. My husband Craig taught with him. We went to church together. I would describe him as quiet inspiration … unless you saw him on the basketball court! He was known for some funny things that happened on the intercom, but he also was known for saying, ’The ball is in your court.’ That’s what he would tell the kids over the intercom in the morning. His expectations were high and kids as well as adults wanted to reach those expectations.”
Patresa Rogers
Principal
Martin Elementary School


“I thought the world of Coach West. He was a great man! He was quite a prankster, too, who could give as well as receive. Before he mastered the technology of the phone silencer, principals would often call him while we were meeting just to hear his ‘Rocky Top’ ringtone and watch him squirm. When I was principal, he returned the favor. He would wait for me to be presenting to the Principal Study Council group and call my cell phone to see if it would ring and throw me off. I’d look his way, and he would be rolling. I quickly learned to make sure my phone was on silent from then on.”
Donald Ray High
Instructional Supervisor, Grades 6-12
Weakley County Schools


“When I think of Coach West, I think of his smile. He was always smiling whether laughing at a joke or smiling after a big win on the basketball court. However, some of the biggest smiles I remember were when he was being a grandparent at Dresden Elementary attending Grandparents Day, Citizen of the Month or kindergarten graduations of his grandchildren.”
Melanie Needham
Principal
Dresden Elementary School


“When Coach West was the head coach of the boys basketball team, I was a cheerleader. This was during the years that Popeye Jones played for him -- 1985-88. I remember seeing the flashing sign that night at the Clarksburg gas station about Popeye eating his spinach. People stood in line to get into that little gym for hours … and what a game it was!!!! Standing room ONLY. We went to the State Tourney during those years, and it was so fun watching him coach those boys at Vanderbilt University. Those were fun times and great basketball memories. His antics were so fun to watch, from his jaw stretching and scratching, head rubbing, pacing and sometimes chair scooting. . . he was one of a kind.

“He hired me to come to work for him in the summer of 1994. I was so excited to work for him at my alma mater. I loved witnessing his ‘Chuck West -isms’ from the teacher side of things. He loved to aggravate people. . . but all in fun! He was such a nice person. He also worked and lived by the Golden Rule. He consistently treated people (especially his staff) the way he wanted to be treated. He never expected more out of us as teachers than he was willing to give. Whatever I was doing, he made it seem (to me) as if he thought mine was the most important thing that was going on. He NEVER made me feel inferior in any situation. He was a great Boss and a wonderful role model.”
Angie Rushing
ESSER 3.0 Director
Weakley County Schools


“I only had the opportunity to know Chuck personally for 2 ½ years. Prior to moving to Weakley County, I had always heard great comments through TSSAA or administrative contacts. After meeting Chuck, I realize his outstanding reputation truly preceded him and was well-deserved.”
Jeff Cupples
Principal
Greenfield School


“I will always remember watching Coach West coaching basketball while I was in high school. And once I became a principal, I enjoyed working with him. Every time he saw me, he would stop and want to talk about how things were going in Sharon. He genuinely cared and listened to everything I had to say. He would always end by saying, ‘Now you call me if you need anything or if I can help.’”
Michelle Clements
Principal
Sharon School