Coach remembered for legacy in Centralia

Posted on 10 February 2018 at 5:08pm

CENTRALIA - Former basketball players stepped onto their old court to remember their beloved coach and friend.

Centralia High School held a memorial for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Enlow on Saturday. The memorial was held in the Centralia High School gym.

The Centralia R-VI voted to name the gym “Jim Enlow Court” in 2006. Although Enlow passed away in January, his legacy lives on. 

Family, community members and former basketball players attended the memorial service. Several former players spoke at the memorial, including Greg Sewell.

“I could talk for several hours about Coach Enlow,” Sewell said.

Sewell graduated in 1975 from Centralia High School. He played basketball for Coach Enlow and worked several other jobs for him. 

In his speech, he described Enlow as a man players did not like, but a man that “really impacted a lot of people’s lives.”

“He was demanding, he was tough, he was stubborn, he was very passionate about his work,” Sewell said. “You could walk up and down the halls of Centralia High School and you can see through all the trophies and plaques and banners that Centralia has. You can see coach’s influence throughout the school.”

But his influence did not just impact the school alone. 

Tom Quinn, the former high school principal and superintendent during Enlow’s career, said Enlow worked as the Centralia Parks and Recreation director for about 40 years. He and his wife helped build the Centralia City Recreation Center.

“He’s truly a legacy in this community for everything he did,” Quinn said.

The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association inducted Enlow into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Quinn said Enlow was a Hall of Fame coach because he had a love for the game, but more importantly “because of the heart he had for his students.”

Enlow had over 700 wins between both boys and girls basketball. His coaching is still inspiring his players today.

Sewell said Coach Enlow was the “prime influence” leading him in the direction of becoming a coach. Sewell has coached high school basketball at several different schools throughout his career. He said Enlow influenced everyone.

“His character and his spirit will be with this school and this community for a long time,” Sewell said.