Former Havelock High coach remembered

Wilbur Sasser coached Havelock High football players to 207 victories during his coaching career. But when talking about their former coach, those players didn’t discuss all the victories on the field, but the successes off it.

“I truly believe Coach Sasser helped mold the person I am today,” said Joe Colly, a 1983 Havelock High graduate.

Sasser died Saturday at the age of 68. His funeral was Wednesday.

Ron Lundy echoed Colly’s sentiments.

“I still practice life-long lessons Coach Sasser taught me,” he said.

Colly credited Sasser with creating a toughness that allowed him to become an Army Ranger.

“Coach Sasser was the toughest coach I ever had,” Colly said. “After joining the Army and going through boot camp, I could not help but relate the strenuous activities in boot camp to Coach Sasser’s two-a-day (practices). I often said to myself, ‘if I could get through his two-a-days, I can get through anything.’ This mantra carried me through Ranger school also.”

Chris Moore was a standout linebacker and running back at Havelock High and went on to lead the East Carolina Pirates in tackles.

“I have great memories of Coach Sasser,” Moore said. “He was an outstanding man, coach and father figure.”

Moore said Sasser taught him to always hit opposing players hard, whether as a runner with the ball or as a linebacker making a tackle.

“Sasser always said hit them hard and place the fear in them,” Moore said. “Then we can separate the boys from the men.”

Jeff Peay, a 1985 graduate of Havelock High, called Sasser the biggest icon in Havelock. He said Sasser provided him needed guidance through his high school years and knows now that all the practice drills built more than just football players, adding that Sasser had no idea how much he shaped his life.

“Many, if not all, of us who played for him owe him for our successes in life,” Peay said. “Coach taught us many of life’s lessons, in his special way. His classroom was the football field and wrestling mat.”