Although I have never met John Plevak, I like him. No, I take that back — I love the man ("A night to remember for Kauffman," Oct. 24).

Mr. Plevak is the men's soccer coach at Stevenson University. Being the sensitive, compassionate man he obviously is, he allowed the team manager to play in a match against Hood College. For those who are uninformed, the manager, Kyle Kauffman, has cerebral palsy. Coach Plevak saw the bond that Kyle, a senior at Stevenson, had forged with the members of the soccer team. The team members and their manager had formed friendships that will withstand the test of time

Mr. Plevak could have given this young man two or three minutes of playing time, and I'm sure Kyle would have been more than satisfied with that. Instead, the coach let him remain on the field for 18 minutes. Repeat, 18 minutes.

Kudos to Stevenson University men's soccer team for accepting their manager for who he is, and not for his so-called handicap. These are real men who will fare well in their post-college lives.

As for Coach Plevak, it just reinforces how potent a coach's influence can be on a young man or woman. Forget the scoreboard results or the next day's article in the paper. What he did as a mentor to his players, especially Kyle Kauffman, is a much more profound and enduring.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham