Joe M. Floyd Jr.
Joe M.Floyd Jr. went home to be with the Lord this past Saturday, February 22 in his sleep next to his bride of over 65 years. “Coach” as he is lovingly known by his community was born in Askew, Mississippi in 1930. Dad was the only son of Joe and Virgie Floyd who was a farmer in the Mississippi delta.
Dad went to Tunica High School where he was a three sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. Dad went to Northwest Community College where he played football on an athletic scholarship for two years. He then went on to Delta State where he played football as well. While at Delta State he was called into the military attempting to make it as a pilot. Not advancing through the requirements for flight, he left and subsequently entered the Air Force where he eventually became a Senior Athletics Specialist. After serving in the Air Force, he was honorably discharged and went to the University of Mississippi where he served in the ROTC program graduating with a degree in Education with Physical Education as his teaching field.
While in the military in Portland, Oregon he met and soon after married his lifelong soulmate, companion and friend Carolyn on July 20, 1955. After receiving an offer from Kodiak High School to teach and coach, he arrived on Kodiak Island in the summer of 1955. His first year in Kodiak there were 120 students at the high school. In his second year the high school combined with the naval base students and the enrollment swelled to 250.
While at Kodiak High School his love and service to the community began. He continued and grew the basketball program, started wrestling, swimming, cross-country, track and field, and volleyball. In addition to his boys and girls athletic programs, he started and continued a before and after school intramural sports program, which any student in the school was eligible to participate in. The sports ranged from ping pong to badminton to softball to flag football. He truly provided something for everyone where participation was the name of the game.
In addition to the creation of high school sports, dad created many sports opportunities for younger Kodiakans. Dad started Little Dribblers, youth wrestling and many special events like the Pillar Mountain King Crab Festival Race.
Not only did dad have a love for youth sports, he addressed the need for adult recreation by starting City League Basketball where local teams would compete. One of those teams was a high school team called the Independents.
Dad was also an avid hunter and fisherman. He has bagged a Boone and Crocket bear, caribou and a moose and many sheep from the Yukon, the Brooks Range and the Wrangell Mountains. He was a regular on the Karluk River for both the fall Steelhead run and the summer king salmon run.
In the summers, dad worked at the post office while coaching Little League baseball. After seeing that the kids did not have anything following Little League, he created Babe Ruth baseball for 13-15 year old students and then started American Legion Baseball for the 16-18 year olds.
Over the years dad has received many honors: Selected into the State of Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Alaska Parks and Recreation Distinguished Service Award, the Alaska Baseball Family of the Year, naming of the Joe Floyd Basketball Tournament and Joe Floyd Track and Sports Field. The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame has named an award called The Joe Floyd Award for those who have made contributions through sport. Finally, in 2013 dad was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Dad hardly ever missed a Sunday morning service at the Community Baptist Church where his wife and all of us four children attended as well. They have practically sat in the same pew since 1955. He sat on the Kodiak Baptist Mission board for 20 years. His expressions of his faith were lived out in his acts of service, support and counsel to young people who he loved with all of his heart.
Dad was a member of the American Legion, the Pioneers of Alaska, the Rotary and was a KEA Board member for 20 years.
Dad’s advice to young people was:
Go to class early.
Sit up front.
Develop a spiritual side.
Use the Bible as your guide.
Marry a man or woman who will be your right hand, as is my wife, Carolyn. I love her dearly.
Besides a community of sons and daughters, Joe M. Floyd Jr. is survived by his wife Carolyn, his daughter Virginia and his three sons Max, Scott and Patrick.
The funeral for “Coach” will be held this Friday, Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the Community Baptist Church. A community Celebration of Life/Memorial Service will be held at the Gerald Wilson Auditorium at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 29.
In lieu of flowers, please send your contributions to the Joe Floyd Sports Fund. Send to: Attn: KHS Athletics (The Joe Floyd Sports Fund), 722 Mill Bay Road.