Longtime Sherando mentor dies at 77

By Brad Fauber

Adam “Tater” Myers, Jr., one of the original varsity coaches at Sherando High School, passed away Sunday morning. He was 77.

Myers is survived by his wife, Phyllis; two daughters, Tammy J. Patterson, of Winchester, and Tonya J. Maurer, of Woodbridge; two sons Timothy J. Myers, of Stephens City, and Todd J. Myers of Southaven, Mississippi; and 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, according to his obituary posted on the website for Omps Funeral Home.

Myers served as the head coach of the varsity softball team at Sherando from the school’s opening during the 1993-94 school year through the 2004 season.

Sherando High School director of student activities Jason Barbe called Myers a “character” who cared a lot about the children he interacted with on a daily basis at the school.

“He never met a stranger,” Barbe said Monday. “He was a very outgoing, friendly person who related well with the kids. It didn’t matter what your story was as a student here, he could relate to you and be a support system for you. He was an incredible knowledge in the sport of softball and that was, I guess, his passion as far as sports go. … He loved all sports and was always willing to help me with any project that came up at the school. All I had to do was ask and Tater was there.”

During his tenure as head softball coach, Myers led Sherando to one of its most successful seasons in 1995, when the Warriors captured the Region II championship and made their only appearance to date in the Group AA state tournament.

“As good as a coach as he was, he was an even better person,” said Pepper Martin, a lifelong friend of Myers who has also coached at Sherando since the school’s inception. “His players, there was a mutual respect involved and they also liked him. He was a people person and had a great rapport with his players.”

Barbe said Myers, who worked as a security guard at Sherando for several years during his coaching career, also served as the head coach of the school’s JV boys basketball team for about 10 years and was a longtime assistant coach for the Warriors’ varsity golf team.

Myers, who was an assistant coach when the Warriors’ golf team won the Group AA state championship in 1998, served in that capacity until this season when his declining health prevented him from attending Sherando’s matches, Barbe said.

Sherando golf coach Rob Wright, who coached with Myers for the last 14 years since taking over the program in 2000, said he informed the Warriors golfers of Myers’ passing on Monday during the bus ride to the Conference 21 tournament at Algonkian Golf Course in Sterling. Wright said the news hit several players “really hard,” and the team was already planning a trip to Tuesday night’s open viewing at the funeral home shortly after finishing the tournament Monday evening.

“One of the best ways for him to give back was coaching,” Wright said of Myers, whom Wright said provided a humorous balance for Wright’s more “serious” coaching style. “It was something that he knew and something that he loved, and he was able to combine his love and his work.

“Tater, he worked all his life,” Wright added. “He was very proud of his time in the Navy. He was proud of his job at Crown Cork and Seal. He brought that with him to coaching.”

Martin said his late father and Myers were good friends from the time Martin was born, and Martin added that he considered Myers and his two brothers to be his uncles.

“I used to jokingly refer to Tater as the ‘Pride of Pluck’s Alley’ because he grew up around Highland [Avenue] just like my dad,” Martin recalled. “I’d venture to guess that he’s the only one to come from that humble background to go on and become a successful high school softball coach.”

Martin also said Myers was a “really good” fast-pitch softball pitcher in his younger years. Martin recalled a time when he batted against Myers, who was about 20 years Martin’s elder, when Martin was in his early 20s during a men’s fast-pitch softball game in Winchester.

“He threw me a nasty knuckleball and I guess I got lucky and hit a line drive off the crossbar in center field at Bodie Grim Field. I ended up with a triple,” Martin said. “I went up to him after the game and I said, ‘Tater, did you let me get a hit?’ And he said, ‘No way. I knew you could hit a fastball, that’s why I threw you a knuckleball. I was trying to get you out.'”

Martin said Myers always made an effort to attend and support various sports at Sherando during his coaching career, and that stayed true even after Myers retired from his head-coaching job in 2004.

“He’s probably bleeding red and black right now. That was in his veins,” Wright said. “He really developed a love relationship with Sherando and it gave back.”

A viewing will be open on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel, in Winchester, with the funeral service being held at the same location at 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to the obituary.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com