During his freshman year, Feltner’s family moved to Tennessee. “I was devastated as I had good friends at TCHS. I was also making steady progress as a basketball player. Somehow, I persuaded my parents to at least permit me to finish my freshman year at Trigg. Reluctantly, they agreed. This meant that I had to walk three miles through all kinds of weather, to the state line, in order to catch the school bus. The matter was further complicated by the fact that the school bus to Dover High School came right by my house. After the completion of my freshman year, I definitely wanted to continue at TCHS. I had good friends, good teachers and of course there were several cute girls there as well. Millard Griffin, a great friend, encouraged me to stay at Trigg. J.D. Howell, Millard’s nephew, also encouraged me to stay. I did and there were never any regrets.”
“Coach Fiser left after my sophomore year and I was really disappointed.” Jack Frost Turner was hired as Fiser’s replacement. Turner made a trip to the state line to look up Feltner. He intended to let Feltner know that he wanted him to continue to play at Trigg. Feltner was working in the tobacco patch when Turner arrived. “I had tobacco gum all over my hand but that didn’t deter Coach Turner from giving me a big handshake anyway. The word also had got out that I would be welcome on the Dover High basketball team. People thought I was nuts to walk 3 miles to catch the school bus to Trigg. They did not realize that I would have walked 5 miles to be a Wildcat.”
Feltner went on to be a quality rebounder and scorer for the Wildcats. He averaged 17 points a game his senior year and was captain of the team. Trigg beat Hopkinsville twice that year and Feltner scored 27 points in one of the games. Another highlight of the 51-52 season was beating Dover High School twice. This was especially sweet to Feltner since he knew nearly all of their players and cheerleaders.
The biggest disappointment of Feltner’s basketball career was missing the District Tournament his senior year due to illness. Some local folks thought it might have cost him a scholarship.
Bill, Millard and J.D.
Feltner fondly recalls his relationships with Millard Griffin and J.D. Howell. He says, “Millard was one of my biggest supporters. “More often than not it was a cold pre-dawn walk to catch the bus at the Kentucky state line. I will never forget how warm and comfortable the Griffin fireplace was after I had walked those three miles. Millard also allowed me to spend the night several times after late basketball games.”
J.D. and I were the last two graduates of Cross Roads Elementary School. With the assistance of our teacher, Ms. Lillian, we managed to get a basketball goal put up on a small dirt court at the school. We spent many hours, in all kinds of weather, putting up shots on that goal. J.D. eventually went on to excel in football but basketball was my sport. Neither of us had transportation home after the games but Millard would take care of us. In fact, we were two of the major reasons that Millard began to drive the athletic busses.”
After high school, Feltner attended Austin Peay University. During the summers, Feltner worked with Grffin on a paint crew at Ft. Campbell. In the summer of 1954 Feltner decided to serve in the military. “I didn’t see Millard much after that except on rare visits when I went to see my parents, who had retired in Woodlawn Tennessee. During the brief visits with Millard, it was if I had never left. When I saw Millard, he always expressed pride in my professional achievements and said he would have not expected any less of me. It was tough for me when Millard died. One never expects a Millard to expire. I was honored to serve as one of his pall bearers.”
Another Millard Story
During the time I was in the army, I had an assignment that required top Secret Clearance. I had to list several character references. Millard was one of the persons I listed. Within a couple of days, a FBI agent located Millard in the field, on his tractor. People in Bumpus Mills were quite flattered by the presence of a FBI agent in town.
After the military, Feltner enrolled at the University of Tennessee and earned three degrees including his Doctoral Degree in 1963. He served three years as an elementary and junior high principal while in Knoxville. Feltner began his career as a full time university instructor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. After four years at Rutgers, Feltner was recruited to come to the University of Georgia. He served on the Institute of Higher Education there. Over the next 25 years he also taught graduate courses at the university. After 30 years of teaching at major universities, Feltner retired from the University of Georgia in 1992.
After retirement, Feltner became active as a professional consultant to several colleges and universities. He also took on various assignments with the U.S. Department of Education.
Bill and Sandy Feltner have two children, Debi and Rodney. They are both graduates of the University of Georgia. They have four granddaughters, Kacie, Kara, Hannah and Abby. The Feltners reside in Lilburn, Georgia.
Final Quote from Bill Feltner
“My time as a basketball player at TCHS was very relevant to the development of self discipline and a sense of tenacity to achieve to the best of my ability. Also, my parents taught me that hard work, honesty and a good education were very essential to my success. I hope that I have not disappointed them.”
To read the conclusion of this story, pick up the latest issue of The Cadiz Record.