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LOOKING BACK


 I grew up in Corbin, in what to me was the best of times. I attended St. Camillus Academy from grade one through grade eight. St. Camillus was a Catholic school that stood high on a hill overlooking the city of Corbin in a pose that gave the impression that at the end of time the beautiful construction that was erected in 1914 would still be standing tall. It was not to be however, as some genius saw fit to tear down the beautiful landmark a few years ago.

It was there on the hill that I developed my passion for sports. It began with watching the St. Camillus Saints in the early fifties. I was so excited as I watched players like Charles Anthony Pietrowski, the Grove Twins (Robert and George), Don Johnson, Barney Samples, Daniel Gregorich, and Joe Enos Johnson. As I got a little older, my grandfather Crook began taking me and my cousin Richard Holland to watch the Corbin Redhounds with players like Jerry Bird, Zeke Perkins, Darrel Storm and C. D. Vermillion.

The years skipped by quickly, and just as I entered my freshman year in high school my parents moved to Hamilton, Ohio for a year.

Hamilton was a nice town, but I was home sick and longed to return to Corbin.

My wish came true, and we returned home, and I made the decision to attend Corbin High School as a sophomore. I had high hopes of being a Redhound. I went out for football, but the Redhounds were coming off a state championship season and loaded with talent and although Coach Walt Green was very good to me and offered encouragement, there simply was little I could do that would help that great team.

My next step was to go out for basketball. I knew as a sophomore, that making a team that had players like Calvin Bird, Winton Boone, Bobby “Pup” Morris and Charles Pointer was at least highly unlikely. I remember entering my junior year of high school at Corbin High thinking well, maybe now there is a shot for me in basketball, but that hope was quickly dashed, as Jerry Smith, through handwork, had become one of the best players to ever wear a Redound uniform, and Billy Bird was undoubtly the quickest player to ever play for the Redhounds. There was little opportunity for me.

Things looked a little bleak in November of 1957.

St. Camillus Academy had decided to rejuvenate their basketball program and several of the guys I had attended grade school with were playing on the team. Barney Samples was the coach of the Saints and approached me about transferring back to the school on the hill and I jumped at the opportunity.

The Saints had a prolific scorer in a young man named Camillus Paul Pietrowski. Pietrowski was a strong bull of a player and averaged over 30 points a game. Joe Gisele. Leon Singleton, Stewart Hardesty, A. B. McCowan and Paul Vanlandingham were the other players who made up the nucleus of the team. I also asked Bob Watkins and Billy Richard Ramsey to come with me and make the transfer.

That year of ’57-’58 was a little disheartening, but you could see improvement with each game.

The season of ’58-’59 began and showed that we had gained through the experience of the previous year. Giesle, Singleton, Ramsey, Watkins and myself were joined by yet, another transfer Winston Phipps, and Hardesty enjoyed what could be determined a successful season by small school standards.

On March 4th, 1959 we lost in the first game of the 50th District Tournament.

This is just a short story of a boy who happened to pass through in the ‘50s and enjoyed every minute of it.

About the loss on March 4th, don’t worry about it. It’s only been 52 years and I am almost over it.

 

Corbin Redhound football will be next on my agenda sometime in August, and I expect next year will be the beginning of an era that should be filled with excitement.

Coach Steve Jewell will lead the Redhounds into 3A football with a very young, but a very talented group of players.

 

I would like to thank Gerald Foley for his many years of fine service as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director in the Corbin School System. Gerald will retire at the end of the school year and join the rest of us old timers on the golf course.

Gerald Foley, always a Redhound.

 

The Kentucky Wildcats made a valiant effort to capture a national championship, but suffered a cold shooting night against UConn. One can only wonder if Enes Kanter may have made a difference.

 

 

 

Comments

Pete Samples (April 18, 2011) Reply

Thank you for wonderful memories.


Bill Poole (April 18, 2011) Reply

A great bunch of my friends included at both St. Camillus and Corbin High School. Yes, thanks for the memories ! I enjoyed the story above, Corbin in those days was a dream come true for most young people,Gosh if only our children could witness just one day. This was a time before John Glenn flew into outer space and changed our world forever !

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