Mid-1950 coaches banter on local airwaves

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
While I was away for a few weeks I received some nice emails from a few of my readers. One particular reader asked me to “re-tell” that story about those mid-1950 local football coaches.
I am sure he is talking about the column I wrote almost three years ago about Joe Latham, A.R. Holmes and C.P. Floyd.
Back then Sam Ford and I taped ECHS games for playback on Sunday afternoons on WATM. We also had a regular Saturday morning football show, which featured these three coaches, all of whom were our friends.
After Sam left the station I had the show all by myself. Holmes, who guided ECHS, was easy going, always appeared relaxed and coached in a conservative manner. Latham, who coached the Ernest Ward team, believed in “hard knocks.” Yet, his gentle personality was obvious to everyone. Floyd coached the Escambia junior varsity team. He was very outgoing, hated to lose games, but was well liked by his players.
Now these Saturday mornings kept your sides splitting with laughter. Yet, these coaches provided insight from their respective games. The hour-long show kept Tom Miniard and me on pins and needles because we never knew what these coaches would say over the air. It depended whether they won or lost that Friday night game. Those were the longest hours I ever spent on the air. Latham would ask Holmes “when are you going to open up that offense and quit running that ball up the middle?” Holmes would come right back at him saying” why change a successful plan when you pick up three yards a carry?” Floyd liked an open offense. He would sometimes ask Latham “how do you fool those officials with that trick play of hiding the ball where the center winds up with it and runs down the field?”. Latham would tell him “it beats passing the ball into the hands of the other team”. Floyd would come right back at Latham saying ‘that safety was interfering with my receivers all night long”.
Sometimes the coaches became frustrated at each other depending on who won or lost the night before. But, because they were good friends they offered compliments to each other each time they won.
Yes, they were also my friends, too. Sadly, they are no longer with us now. It is rather hard to believe this was 55 years ago.
One day this week I looked from my porch onto Presley Street and saw a car stopped in the street at the driveway to the high school. Cars began to come to a stop waiting for the cat to turn into the driveway. The car finally turned then came to a stop in the driveway I walked over to see if I could be of help. It was a girl, apparently a student, driving the car. I said to her “I noticed you were stopped in the street, do you need some help with your car?” She then replied’ oh, no thank you everything is o.k. I was “texting”.
Now, I am learning this is a new concept with the cell phone and mostly used by teenagers and younger people. I really hope these youngsters don’t “text and drive” because this could be very dangerous.
I am sure many of you remember the musical group “Three On A String”. They have performed at several of our spring and fall festivals over the past several years. They are a very talented and entertaining threesome from Birmingham.
The leader of the group, Bobby Horton, has been featured recently on several PBS TV specials. In fact his band was selected to supply the background music for the current Ken Burns series, “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea.”
A resident of Vestavia Hills, Horton is also regarded as one of Alabama’s most knowledgeable “history buffs”. These shows can be seen on Channels 42 and 23.
Another friend sent me an enlightening email. This friend, after reading of my mentioning Mrs Lady Bird Johnson in last week’s column, told me that Vice President Joe Biden was married to Lady Bird Johnson’s daughter. You recall I wrote last week that her train stopped here many years ago to pick up Dr. J.B. Thomas first wife. Mrs. Thomas was a cousin of Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Thomas rode to Mobile with her on that occasion.
Another phone call from a very good friend and was much welcomed. He related his pleasure in the two Santa Rosa, Florida school officials winning their school prayer lawsuit. But he was saddened to learn these two men had to pay a huge sum of money in legal fees. According to internet reports that suit was brought about by the ACLU.
My friend and I talked about our school days at Baldwin County High School when we always had morning devotion over the “loud speaker system” in each room. We never dreamed that one day it would be unlawful to say a school prayer.
This brings up another thought. It has been implied that this current healthcare bill will possibly affect seniors. You can bet your bottom dollar this next election all these seniors will let their actions be known at the polls. Not just the old folks, but their sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters will let their feelings be known, too.
A former adjuster friend who now works in a weather service group tells me to expect more rain than usual down south this winter. He says the El Nino factor is the culprit. Already this factor has kept hurricanes away. He says there is now only a slim chance of a hurricane coming our way this year. He says “it won’t come across from Africa because of the upcoming cold fronts”. “Always a possibility of a storm forming in the Gulf at the tail end of a front”, he said.
More bad news out of Chicago this week. It appears politics have all the wheels spinning with Boeing possibly becoming the apparent choice for the tanker contract. This is not official but Congress and the Air Force have begun discussions on the contract…… Looks like we need a miracle.
An announcement of the winner should be made by year’s end.
At press time Wednesday we still have no word from Venture Drilling Company about their State Farm # 2 Well near Hauss Nursery. Rumors of the well being a ‘producer” have not been confirmed. However, an announcement is expected any day. Venture is now drilling the Mason property well located about one mile east of the Hauss unit. There were no new drilling permits issued this week.
Do you remember this old Strand Theater ad, “When Clothes are Dirty Call Two Thirty?”
Which Atmore firm used this old phone number in that commercial?
Will let you know next week.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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