McCarron is fitting SEC ambassador

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It is such a treat to see A.J. McCarron being interviewed on TV. You don’t hear these “ah, ah, you know, you know” remarks. Instead, you hear highly descriptive, informative, well-chosen sets of words, reflective of someone with a good education.
ESPN and Fox Sports have picked up on this as well. Since the University of Alabama quarterback led his team to an overwhelming win over LSU Saturday night, there have been no less than a half dozen interviews with various announcers on these networks. Using excellent continuity in his choice of words, it is no wonder he stands tall above many other sports figures when he is placed in the spotlight.
Surely those Heisman selection members will have to consider this Bart Starr-like quarterback when they vote on this year’s winner. After all, smartness and integrity are prime requisites for Heisman candidates.
Now, let’s take a look at some news from 1975.
Several from here were fêted with awards and honors in the spring of that year. Patricia Byrd, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Troy Byrd, was the winner of a $3,000 college scholarship. Funds for her scholarship came from The National Gannett Newspaper Association, of which The Pensacola News Journal was a member. The Escambia Academy scholar grad used her award very wisely to obtain a college degree in education. As most know, she taught locally for several years here.
Susan Tennant, Miss South Alabama, gained the opportunity to participate in the Miss Alabama in Birmingham. She represented nine counties in south Alabama.
Buford Coon and W.D. Driskell of McCullough raked in honors as top cotton growers in the county.
Former Atmore radio station owner Dale Gehman was selected first place winner in TV and electronics in the Alabama Electronic Convention in Birmingham. The senior at Atmore Vocation Center in later years drew on his knowledge to build and co-operate a radio station here, with the Poarch Indians.
Amelia Solomon, the pretty daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Solomon of Walnut Hill, captured a coveted baton-twirling award at the Escambia Florida Talent Show in Pensacola.
Local angler, Robert Hughes, scored a top five fishing award in the Evinrude Bass Fishing Tournament at Millers Ferry, near Camden. His string of fish weighed in at seven pounds and seven ounces.
A sad note in the news that year was the passing of popular and successful businessman Dee Gibbs. Not only was he a success as the Pure Oil distributor, but he served the city well as a councilman.
Dee, in later life, became interested in auctioneering. In fact he attended an Arkansas auctioneering school, where he picked up some fine points in this field. I suppose that is why he often requested all of us WATM announcers to play “The Auctioneer,” which was sung by Leroy Van Dyke.
The county, especially Brewton and Flomaton, experienced a devastating flood in the spring of 1975. Downtown Brewton was under water for almost two days. The damage was estimated at $5 million.
Have you ever thought about that “terrible” highway we must travel when motoring to Tuscaloosa? I was up that way recently, and with the exception of a 15-16 mile four-lane span between Grove Hill and Thomasville, that highway with its two lanes most of the way looks exactly like it did in 1954 and 1955, when I traveled it each weekend as a University of Alabama student.
I would take a left on Highway 25 (dodging sleeping cows on the highway), go right through Thomaston, Dayton, Faunsdale, Greensboro and Moundville right into Tuscaloosa. You could travel through Linden and Demopolis, but traffic congestion was much greater on that route.
Right now, college students from our area can safely drive to several schools without having to travel on many two-lane roads.
The easiest major school to get to from here is Auburn University. Many probably fail to realize interstates and four lane highways literally take you to the “front doors” at LSU, Florida State AUM, UAB and Southern Mississippi. Getting to Troy only requires 40 miles of two-lane roads from Greenville. Even those living near Dothan have four-lane access up U.S. 431 to Interstate 85. They can then travel west to Montgomery, where they will turn on to U.S. 82 or travel north on I-65 and then turn west toward Centreville.
Even those living in the Mobile area have a four-lane U.S. 43 to Thomasville on their way to Tuscaloosa.
But for us, it is the still the same old two-lane route.
I will have more news next week about people, places and things from Atmore’s yesteryears. I will also have an interesting story about Coach A.R. Holmes, one of ECHS’s most popular and storied coaches from days gone by.

You can email Lowell McGill at

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