Coaches’ visits were highlights of radio show

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This week, I received a nice e-mail from a reader asking me to re-tell that story about those mid-1950 local high school football coaches.

I am sure he is talking about the column I wrote several 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.

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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 relaxed 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, and hated to lose games, but was well liked by his players.

Now these Saturday mornings kept your sides splitting with laughter with the coaches offering commentary 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, especially coach Floyd. 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 how their teams played 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. It is rather hard to believe this was fifty-plus years ago.

The other day 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 that car to turn into the driveway. The car finally turned and came to a stop in the driveway. I walked over to see if I could be of help. It was a high school student, driving the car. I said to her, “I noticed you were stopped in the street; do you need some help?” She then replied, “Oh, no thank you, everything is OK. I was texting.”

Now, I am learning this texting concept with the cell phone is 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 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 a Ken Burns series, “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea.”

A resident of Vestavia Hills, he is also regarded as one of Alabama’s most knowledgeable “history buffs.”
These shows can be seen on Channels 42 and 23. It would be good if they returned for one of our festivals in the spring or fall.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from 1966. County and state authorities posted big rewards leading to the capture of thieves who stole copper from Southern Pine Corporation.

Local banks announced savings would be insured up to $15,000, an increase of $5,000. This resulted from a ruling by the FDIC.

Cpl. Larry Sims of Huxford was awarded a Merit of Commendation for heroic service in the Vietnam war. He was recognized for helping to rescue Marines in a hostile situation.

Finally, the Atmore Saddle Club brought a big circus to town. Kelly Brothers Circus entertained folks here for two days and nights with thrills and excitement in three rings.

Do not forget to “spring forward” with your clocks, watches and digital timepieces this weekend.

More next week.

You can email Lowell McGill at