The Man Behind the Mask

A deeper look into who Mr. Webster truly is

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Bridget Morris

Mr. Webster communicates with one of his athletes during a cross country race.

Lauren Spakowski, Co-editor-in-chief

Throughout our years in school, we’ve always known that one teacher to be tough and intimidating towards their students. But have you ever wondered why they are that way? That if you took the time to know them you would truly see who they are behind the mask they have put on so well? 

With 32 years of teaching and coaching under his belt, Mr. Webster has mastered the artistry of becoming the stern teacher wherever he goes. Although he has since retired and has finished his teaching days at Liberty back in 2018, he still comes back often. From being the hall monitor at the beginning of the school year to a substitute teacher as well as current psychology teacher and coach for the cross country and track team, there is no stopping him.  

Webster describes his teaching style as basic and old school. He is known for writing out all of his assignments for his students and not relying on technology. Webster has high expectations for his students and provides a structured environment for them to work in. 

“I don’t do well in chaos,” Webster said. “And these are young kids and they have to get the point that there are certain things, and I want them a certain way and you basically have to start on that right way. Then as they begin to do those things and they get to know you then the interaction becomes a little more casual, they understand ‘okay,’ and as long as I do my job, I’m okay.” 

A lot of the time coaching was the best part of the day because you get to go out there with kids that want to be there. They aren’t out there because they are required, they want to be there, you know them, they are a lot of fun.”

— Mr. Webster

Webster has taught at multiple schools during his career, such as McCluer North High School, and has also coached at the college level for Maryville University. This has given him the opportunity to work with all types of students and navigate how they function in a way where he is not only comfortable but to where it will prompt his students and athletes to learn the process of what is to be done if you work with him. However, those who are close to him know that this side of Webster is nothing more than a facade, that he has created to provide him a little entertainment for his everyday life. At the core, Webster is a very funny, sarcastic and caring man that has such a big heart, and wants what is best for his students and athletes. 

“My favorite memory of Webster is the first day he came to off-season practice. Nobody knew who he was, he just showed up in short running shorts and started coaching us. We just went with it,” senior Caitlyn Chaney said. 

If you were to go up to any of one of Webster’s athletes, you are bound to hear nothing but praise and funny stories about him from long days at practice. From one of the long mornings with the girls team where they all stood in a circle and played “I Would Do Anything For Love” by Meatloaf to the side comments of him complaining about the annoyances of those around him, there are countless things to be remembered. 

Along with the funny memories he has created for his athletes, he has received countless awards for his achievements. Webster is in the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaching Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2015, has had two back-to-back women’s large class track state championships, was the first Missouri coach to be in the U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Women’s Coach of the Year, as well as in the Missouri association he has been twice the women’s track coach of the year.  

While he may not brag about how successful he has become over the course of his career, through his achievements and relationships he has built proves how passionate he is about his craft. At the end of the day, it’s not about winning it all for him or being the best, it’s the process of building to success through hard work, time and repetition. 

“A lot of the time coaching was the best part of the day because you get to go out there with kids that want to be there. They aren’t out there because they are required, they want to be there, you know them, they are a lot of fun,” Webster said.