Coach Lee selected as History Teacher of the year nominee

Chandler Elsbecker, Sports Editor

A booming voice comes through the wall into Ms. Solomon‘s room. Her students think: it doesn’t have to be so loud, does it? I mean after all, it’s social studies – how exuberant does a guy need to get over social studies? It’s a bit unwarranted, isn’t it?

But for Coach Evan Lee, this intensity is necessary. It fulfills a certain part of him and helps his students understand something he’s always trying to find.

“I’m always obsessed with answering the question ‘Why?’” Lee said. “If I don’t like the way the world looks right now, ‘why did it get that way?’ I want to know. And social studies is the way I can do it. You may never need to know that the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. But that idea of why – you’ll need that the rest of your life.”

Lee found inspiration to become a teacher in middle school after becoming friends with one of his football coaches.

“I think I knew I was going to be a teacher when I was in seventh grade, when I met a guy named Coach Treadaway,” Lee said. “He didn’t tell me anything; I just notice he seemed like he really enjoyed his life. He didn’t have to get old. I thought, ‘Man, this is the way I don’t ever have to get old. It’s like Peter Pan. I can look old, but I can always feel young around people.’”

David Treadaway, once Lee’s coach in Chickasha, Oklahoma, doesn’t have anything negative to say about his old player.

“He was great,” Treadaway said. “Hard worker, took it seriously, always finished, took pride in what he did. He possessed all the good attributes you’d want to tack onto somebody. Even to this day, he’s still that way.”

Lee’s relationship with Treadaway has continued since leaving high school. Lee makes it a routine to in some way contact his old coach when he can.

“I still talk to that man probably once every month, whether I need to or not,” Lee said. “He’s turned into one of my very best friends. Really, we talk about anything under the sun: family, athletics… He’s actually now a pastor; he’s not even a coach anymore, so we’ll talk about church and stuff like that.”

Treadaway is the senior pastor at Pocasset First Baptist Church in Pocasset, Oklahoma. Despite his new job, Treadaway doesn’t think his relationship with, or opinion of, Lee has changed over the years.

“I’m just extremely proud of him,” Treadaway said. “He’s one of the few from the football team that I coached that I keep track of. I’m very proud of him.”

Lee puts high importance in Treadaway’s trust in him.

“It’s just one of those weird things,” Lee said. “He was my first football coach in seventh grade, he was one of my position coaches when I got into high school, he kept me out of trouble – I was more concerned about not betraying his trust or doing something that he would be ashamed of, more so than I was afraid of [disappointing] my dad. (And I love my dad; we had a great relationship.) Maybe that was part of why I like doing what I do, if he had that much of an impression on me.”

After high school, Lee attended Oklahoma State University while student-teaching in Enid, Oklahoma and Stillwater, Oklahoma. On his first day as a teacher at McMath Middle School, Lee was confronted by a student.

“The exact words were, ‘Coach, I’m going to warn you,’” Lee said. “‘I will never pass this class, and I will never pass the TAKS Test.’ Turned out to be an AP student.”

It’s his experiences with students like the one he met on his first day that Lee says make teaching worthwhile.

“I love it when kids tell me that they learn stuff,” Lee said. “When I do this for however many times a day, I can get somebody to go and say, ‘Oh.’ If they’re realizing stuff, that’s like – you might as well be handing me free money…. That’s why I do it. That’s my favorite thing.”