Commentary: It’s worth tweaking rules for Maechtle


I am all for tradition. I don’t like opening my presents on Christmas Eve or scheduling World Series games in November.

Keep it simple and keep it pure.

But there are some rituals that deserve a wrinkle or two.

Just ask Wink Barnette.

Before resigning as the executive director of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association in June, Barnette’s last act was getting Paul Maechtle into the FACA Hall of Fame.

The rub? Prospective Hall of Famers have to apply. And anyone who knows Maechtle knows the longtime football coach and athletic director at Southeast would rather floss his teeth with barbed wire than brag on himself.

Forget sitting on his laurels -- Maechtle wouldn’t lean on his in the middle of a sandstorm.

Barnette did what amounted to an executive decision, making Maecthle the Hall’s first active inductee to bypass the current process, which is approximately 20 years old.

Maechtle will be formally inducted into the FACA Hall of Fame during this weekend’s ceremony in Daytona Beach -- a well-deserved honor.

And Barnette deserves some credit, too, for seeing that Maecthle was worthy, even if he felt a little funny about filling out an application.

Because the man is worthy. Aside from his two state championships and 30 years of service on the sideline, Maecthle served as FACA president and hosted the association’s annual North-South All-Star Game in 1986. And anyone who has seen him take tickets at a volleyball match or dish out slices of pizza during halftime at a boys basketball game knows Maechtle’s dedication to student-athletes goes beyond the confines of John Kiker Memorial Stadium.

So what if he didn’t want to formally apply? Honors such as this one should be based on merit and accomplishment instead of someone’s knack of self-promotion.

This is not a condemnation on the Hall of Famers who did go through the proper channels and fill out the proper paperwork. Those are the rules and that’s what those folks played by, and if they are in, it means those people certainly did enough good things to deserve it.

But it is nice to see that not everything exists in a vacuum, and that on occasion, things can change. Maybe this starts a trend -- I’m not saying the FACA should abolish their current system, but they should do what Barnette did with Maecthle, and look at the body of work instead of what is sprawled on an application.

So kudos to coach Maechtle for adding Hall-of-Famer to his already extensive resume.

And kudos to Wink Barnette and the folks of the FACA for realizing there are some traditions worth breaking, and might be worth breaking again.