Often younger generations don’t even realize they walk among men or women, now older in years, who once coached their parents or other family members.
Two years ago, members of Coach Ron Purdy’s Calhoun team of 1974, known as the fighting 28, honored their coach in a pre-game ceremony at Phil Reeve Stadium. Coach Purdy served as Calhoun’s coach for the five seasons from 1970 through 1974.
Honor, respect and admirations for coaches of decades ago are often expressed by men and women who played for them. Billy Bearden does not hesitate to comment on his basketball coach at Belwood as being far ahead of his time. He proudly states that Jesse Fox was teaching Kentucky’s legendary Adolph Rupp’s system and style of play long before anyone else.
And, so it is with all former athletes. We like to look back on years of play and reflect upon our coaches.
I mention one coach now that is still on the scene in a very prominent and useful fashion. Hamp Alexander coached for decades at Adairsville and Calhoun High Schools and at Shorter College.
For years, three sports demanded his attention at Calhoun High before he left for college duties in 1972. It was football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. He was ultra successful in every sport.
It has been the position here that his coaching job of the 1971 Jackets backfield was one of the outstanding coaching jobs ever. He took a backfield of lesser talent and got a performance from them in running Coach Purdy’s offense as the Jackets rolled to a 7-3 season record.
Coach Alexander’s presence and influence is still felt in a positive way on the young athletic scene.
There are others out of the past to be mentioned later.
Above, the heading of this section indicated we would talk about coaches from the past and present.
Just today (Sunday), there was a meeting with my friend Chance Hicks. Chance is now a coach at Ashworth Middle School. After coaching football for a couple of years he will apply his efforts this spring in the baseball program.
Chance Hicks has always been a favorite at our house. There is a desire here to always defeat him in Calhoun-Ashworth contests. I say that while at the same time admiring him and wishing him the best. If his team wins there will be congratulations from this old coach and that with the warmest of feelings.
Chance affords me, at this moment and as long as I live, with one of the most pleasurable moments of my athletic career either as a player, fan or coach.
The details can’t be set forth here but during a Calhoun-Coosa basketball game the then student put on a show with other heckling students to cause laughter every time one thinks of it. I love Chance Hicks.
There are other young coaches and they are posting outstanding records early in their careers. Special attention will be given to Eric Rigney and his Middle School football accomplishments.
One doesn’t have to travel far to find a premier wrestling program. Coach Eric Elrod has put the Sonoraville Phoenix wrestling program on the map and in the spotlight.
Region and sectional championships in both dual and traditional competition is no easy task. This young man with a young program is to be admired and congratulated. The state tournament is right on top of us and you can expect the Sonoraville kids to be in the hunt for the big title.