Now to the subject this week. The Trigg County Hall of Fame committee has selected it’s third class. There will be one team and two individuals inducted this year. The individuals are Coach Buddy Perry and Ladonna Diggs. Perry was the athletic director for many years at Trigg County as well as the coach of various athletic teams. Diggs was a standout track athlete and has been an ardent supporter of Trigg County athletics for decades. Today however, I want to focus on the first team to be inducted into the Trigg County Hall of Fame. That team is the 1962-1963 Trigg County boys’ basketball team. Let me explain some of the rational behind that selection.
Obviously the state championship football, track and cross-country teams are future locks for the Hall of Fame. The regional chanpion basketball teams that made it to state should be as well. But the committee turned to what is perhaps the first great athletic team in school history to be the first inducted into the hall. The 1962-63 basketball team is the one that paved the way. Let me tell you about them.
First, let’s point out that this basketball season marks the 50th anniversary of their magical season. What better time to honor them? Also, the 62-63 team was the first integrated team in school history. Until that year all black high school students from Trigg County were sent to Hopkinsville Attucks. It was also the first year to play in what is now Wildcat Gymnasium. You see, the school burned down in 1960 and Trigg County played all their games on the road for two seasons. The 62-63 season they played most of them at home.
Now let’s get to know the team. The starter were as follows:
Guard - Carl Ray Francis 6’0 Sr.
Guard - Billy Joe Armstrong 6’0 Sr.
Center - Joe Graham 6’6 Jr
Forward - Buddy Sivills 6’3” Soph.
Forward - James Boyd 6’2” Sr.
There were several key members of the team that came off the bench. William Banister was the 6th man. Henry Goode and Samuel Kirby were key reserves. The roster was full of talent as Dale Henderson, William Bridges, Jerry Burnam, David Bannister, Kenny Rogers and Randy Allen were team members as well. The managers were C. Ray Hall, Charles Cunningham and Richard Nesbitt. The Head Coach was Duke Burnett and the assistant was Tommy Cunningham.
How about this? I can even tell you who the cheerleaders were. They were Nell Bridges, Ruby Bush, Joyce Hargrove, Brenda Oakley, Betsy Nichols and Carmen McElwain.
The 1962-63 team only lost 3 games. Calloway County beat them 41-40 on a last second shot. Clarksville High out of Tennessee beat them 48-46. Princeton Dotson ended their season in the region semi-finals. Dotson had the Smith brothers, Dwight and Greg. Dwight was drafted by the Lakers and Greg went on to win a world championship with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Next week, I will tell you more about the great team of 1962-63. You will get a feel for what life was like on that team and what the atmosphere was in town. Most importantly the story of how that team helped to smoothly integrate a school system will come to light.
Thanks for reading and merry CHRISTmas again!
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.