Last week in this space I commented on a 1935 football program that was found under a desk at Corbin High School and shown to me by Athletic Director Andrew Roark.
One reader commented, “I sure wish it had been a 1936 program.” The reason for his comment was explained by Coach Nick Denes who coached both the football and basketball teams.
He wrote an article in the program that let them know better times were coming. ”During the last two seasons Corbin basketball teams have been below par, but this year with the addition of the two Cluggish boys, the Redhounds should swing back into championship class.”
And indeed they did by winning Corbin’s only state championship in basketball.
I was reminded of why Corbin won the state championship early in my broadcasting career. In 1961, when I became the play-by-play announcer for WCTT, not all schools permitted radio broadcasts of their games. The radio station had to get permission from the school.
Corbin was scheduled to play at Williamsburg and we wanted to broadcast the game. I scheduled an appointment with Herb Steely who was Superintendent of Williamsburg schools to ask for permission.
On my way to the school I was delayed by a long train crossing the tracks in Williamsburg and it made me late for the appointment.
The first thing Mr. Steely said to me when I entered the room was, “you’re late.” That half way scared me to death. His next statement was, “You people in Corbin stole the Cluggish boys from us and won a championship. At that time I was not aware of this and he informed me they came to Corbin from Williamsburg.
The pressure was on and I was sweating the possibility of him letting me broadcast the upcoming game. I told him our broadcast would not hurt crowd attendance and if the gym was not full I would pay for every empty seat.
I must have been out of my mind to make such a statement because i didn’t have a dime in my pocket. But after a long discussion of the pros and cons of broadcasting he let me do it. Fortunately it was a standing room only crowd.
After that meeting Mr. Steely and I became good friends and laughed often about my begging and practically getting on my knees to get permission to broadcast the game.
In 1935 Corbin basketball was 14 years old. They played for four years on a lot adjacent to the school without a coach. In 1925 R.F. Wiley became the coach and they played their games in the Sterchi warehouse building on Depot Street. In 1926 J. R. Bacon became the coach and the games were moved to the YMCA gym.
This 1935 football program listed Corbin as the only school of its size in Kentucky without a gym.
Keep in mind that in this same school year it would be the 1936 basketball team that won the championship, even with a gym of its own.
In this program former players listed as making good in college were: Carl Lawson, Buford Clark, Judge Howard, Harry Taylor at Union; Doc Bolton at Bluefield; White Hendrickson at Tennessee and Buford Garner and Silas Prewitt at Western.