by Forest Harvey
“Nothing changes, but nothing stays the same” was said by Harley King, author and poet.
As basketball season is in full swing and March Madness is right around the corner my mind looks back to those years of my youth when I was in high school. Some people reading this will also remember. Clinton County High School has not always been the home of the Bulldogs. Back in the 40’s the opening yell of the three girl cheerleaders was:
Wiggle waggle diggle daggle,
Ipple sipple sigh!
We’re from Albany High.
There were no Lady Dawgs in the early years.
Some of the players were boys who had returned home from WWII…. fighters. That is what they were trained to do. Once during a game with the Burkesville team, one of the Burkesville players had taken the ball away from an Albany player resulting in a jump ball. That player was told by another Albany player at half-time to (kill him).
There were no luxuries or conveniences in those days. I remember one night after a game at Tompkinsville in the old wood gym… a (fire trap). The dressing room was heated by a coal stove. The Bulldogs had to use a two gallon bucket instead of a fire plug. After the game we noticed that the contents of that bucket was boiling on the stove. One of the jobs of the manager was to empty that bucket.
Some of the players on the late 40’s teams were Billy Gay Huddleston, James E. Abston, John B. Smith, Jr., J. D. Dixon, Ned Sloan and Bill DeForest.
The scoreboard in the old Albany Gym was on the old stage. You just hung the numbers on hooks. The first new clock and scoreboard was installed in 1950. I was given the job of running it. Morris Thrasher kept the book. We worked good together and he also became my best friend. I can hear it now “Stop the Clock” in overtime. The Bulldogs got a lot of them in 1950-52. I have given the team a lot of lemons, towels and band aids.
After the busses began transporting students in from the county, a freshman student (Wade McKinley) led a student movement to bring changes to Albany High School and Bulldogs. They won. I do not remember the year the change in name happened.
In 1948 when I was Assistant Manager, Raymond Reneau passed on to me Ned Sloan’s old Albany High jacket. The first team received new C.C.H.S jackets that year. The 1948-49 team was made up of Ned Smith, Bill DeForest, C. J. Dennis, J.D. Dixon, Arlen York and Harold Young.
In 1950, I was Manager. When we traveled to away games I rode with Coach Reneau and Coach Murphy in their car. The highlights that year for me was when Coach Renaeu put me in a second team game with Fountain Run High School. I scored two long shots from the center line. The players knew what I could do and fed me the ball. It was entertainment for them to see the manager play and one of the highlights for me in my short sports career to score four points for the Bulldogs. I was sixteen years old. Most of the players are now deceased. Dennis Ray Denton may remember it. He was on that team I think with Harold Young, Ray Lewis Piercy, Edgar Lewis Groce and others.
We did not use the phrase “Big Blue” or “Dawgs” but “Bulldogs”. The coaches that I was under were L.H Robinson, Raymond Reneau and Richard Murphy. The Cheerleaders were Margaret Long Wade, Ida Bell Morgan and Chrystal McWhorter and perhaps others that I do not remember.
Go Big Blue!
The 1948-49 Bulldogs, with manager and author of this Reader’s Write, Forest Harvey, kneeling at far left next to head coach Raymond Reneau. Note the uniforms bearing the school name Clinton County, while Harvey’s letter jacket bears the “A” of the old Albany High School. The manager kneeling on the other side of Coach Reneau is Paul Young.
In the players row, left to right: Ned Smith, Bob DeForest, Ned Sloan, Bill DeForest, C.J. Dennis, J.D. Dixon, Arlen York and Harold Young.
According to the History of Clinton County Basketball, the 1948-49 Bulldogs finished the year with a 20-5 record, losing to Gamaliel in the 20th District Tournament by a score of 35-30.