Coach Nathan Geoffrey Waldrip, 47, of Andrews passed away on Sunday, April 23, 2017 in Andrews.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate his life at 5:00 PM Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Andrews Middle School Old Gymnasium, 600 NW 3rd Street, with Coach Steven Butler and Principal Charlie Falcon speaking. The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 6 – 7 PM at McNett Funeral Home Chapel. Graveside services will be at 1:00 PM Thursday, April 27, 2017 at East Hill Cemetery in Fort Stockton. Please celebrate his life by watching his video tribute and leaving messages for the family at www.mcnettfuneralhome.com.
Coach Waldrip was born on April 18, 1970 in Midland to Otto Jim Waldrip and Bonnie Jewel Lesly Waldrip. The following article from the Andrews County Newspaper in 2004 explains his life story best:
“Waldrip earns Coach of the Year honors on May 17, 2004. As a football, track and, his favorite, basketball; Coach Waldrip is in a profession where they are judged by wins and losses. That is the biggest mistake. Waldrip is more than just a coach. What he brings to the table for the young kids and works with is a special gift. Just like there are good athletes and great athletes, there are also good coaches and great coaches. Waldrip is a great coach. That is why he was named the 4A Middle School Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. That he won such a prestigious honor comes as no big surprise to the people that work with him. In fact, it was long overdue. It is a statewide honor that has never been presented to an Andrews coach. It is an honor that very few coaches get, and even fewer deserve. Never mind that Waldrip has been deaf for a third of his lifetime. Yes, he does have a handicap, but does that get in his way of life - no way. Nominated by Andrews High School basketball coaches Ron Johnson and Gary Schiffner; Waldrip was just one of seven coaches from across the state to win the award. Waldrip was considered the best middle school coach in 4A, and the nomination letter written and sent in by Coach Johnson says it all. Waldrip with his family, and both Schiffner and Johnson at his side, was presented the Coach of the Year award at the TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) Clinic in San Antonio. There are good coaches and there are great coaches; Waldrip is the latter. Says Coach Johnson of Waldrip, "I think the world of that guy. To get people to talk about Waldrip is easy. To get Waldrip to talk about himself was not. As far as we know, Waldrip is not in the "Witness Protection" plan, but he sure does act that way. Said Waldrip of the award, "It's a huge honor.” For his career, Waldrip has a 61-wins and 29-losses record. Not bad - not bad at all. Although things seem to be changing, Andrews has not been a "basketball town" for quite some time, and that kind of record is a true indication of just how good of a coach Waldrip is. As for his handicap, what handicap! "I've been deaf for over a third of my life now, so I'm used to it," Waldrip said. In backtracking with Waldrip, good players don't always make great coaches, and Waldrip is a fine example of that. In his own words, "I wasn't really a good player, maybe just decent. Maybe a 6 or 7 in a scale of 1 to 10." Waldrip played football and basketball at Fort Stockton High School, where he was raised and graduated with honors in 1988. He went to Angelo State on a full academic scholarship and, despite going through some very hard times, has never taken a step back. He started losing his hearing as a freshman in college and by the end of his sophomore year was diagnosed with NF2 (neurofibromatosis type II) in May of 1990. Over the next three years, he went through three major, life-threatening brain surgeries that left him deaf. He returned to Fort Stockton and for the next two and half years, five days a week, drove 150 miles daily (round trip) to Alpine to attend Sul Ross State University. He graduated from Sul Ross in August of 1995, got his teaching certificate in December of that year, and spent the next two years running the academic alternative education program in Pecos for his ex-high school principal. After that he moved to Bay City for one year before moving to Andrews in 1999 to be closer to his parents, who were both going through medical hard times. Still, through all the hard times Waldrip has endured in his short time on earth, he lives life one day at a time and enjoys what he has. His family is the most important thing in his life, and, unlike a lot of us, he never takes a single day of life for granted. He loves working with young kids, and young kids love working for him. Yes, wins and losses still define any man in the coaching business, but the values and the character a coach like Waldrip instills in the young men he works with are of far much greater value.”
Coach Waldrip retired from coaching and had been teaching at the Andrews Education Center for the last few years, but his love for the game and kids never stopped. He had a large part in starting the Andrews Middle School “Shootout in the Desert” basketball tournament, which was one of the largest middle school tournaments you could host. He loved the Dallas Cowboys, TV Show Jeopardy, Peanut M&M’s, and Dr. Pepper.
Coach Waldrip had written and published two books, “How to Survive the Stabbing Weasels and Other True Stories” and “How to Survive the Stabbing Weasels II: Season of the Zombie.” He had been currently writing a column called “Nate of America” for the Andrews County Newspaper.
Coach Waldrip is survived by his daughter, Reagan Waldrip of Andrews, fiancée, Sarah Gayle Nash of Amarillo, 2 brothers, Jerry Leslye Bryant and Kerry Kim Waldrip and his children, Dakota and Roni. He was preceded in death by his loving parents in 2000 and his brother, Terry Lee Bryant in 1978.
Memorials may be sent to www.Youcaring.org/NathanWaldrip Please Click Here to make a contribution
which will be used to support his daughter for her treatment of NF2 (neurofibromatosis type II) and for her to continue to pursue her college degree, which her dad would have wanted.