March 29, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

Lately there has been talk about how to keep our school sports programs alive during these hard economic times. Here are three ways CHS kept sports going during the Great Depression.

*Sam Eff, the CHS track coach in 1930, knew there was no way the Tigers or their opponents could afford to travel to track meets so he suggested the conference create telegraphic track meets and they did.

They worked like this. All conference teams stayed home and conducted their own intra-squad track meets. The coaches recorded the best track and field performances, using the honor system, then sent the results to the conference headquarters which compiled the results and announced the winners.

*In football, CHS mainly played nearby teams and some of them twice, on a home and home basis.

*To save money on gas, parents, coaches, and community supporters would take turns transporting the kids home every day after practice early car poolingand team parents would chip in money to help pay for the gas.

Likewise, coaches and parents would drive players to and from the out of town games in their private cars. The late Biddie Crawford, one of those athletes, said many times he would sleep on the way home after a game with his head resting on the shoulder of Coach Hoosers wife, Gertude, while Hobe drove back to Lake City.

Similar problems existed during the harsh days of World War II. For example, every CHS coach got drafted into the service and it looked like CHS would not be able to field a football team in the early 1940s. Then, citizens Frank Oosterhoudt and Doc Melton, neither with any connection to our school system, stepped in and coached the Tigers for two yearsfor no pay.

Maybe none of these solutions was ideal but they enabled our CHS kids to have a sports program during hard times, and we will find ways to keep our school sports programs going in these difficult times, too.

It may not be easy but we will find a way.


*To Billy and Marsha Tompkins Dow for donating several excellent photos of Annie Tompkins Perkins Dicks and her CHS Class of 1934, with names, along with newspaper write-ups of their various class reunions.

Also, Billy donated a 1959 LCJHS football program for the game where the Falcons defeated Stearly's Midgets from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, 20-12. Some on the LCJHS team were Billy, Ronnie Mangle, Otis Roberts, Kenneth Green, David Criswell, and Rickey Walker.

*To Mary Virginia (Ginnie) Ives McRae for donating a photo showing Five Points Elementary School's first principal (Paul Giebeig, Jr.) and first secretary (Nellie Ives, Ginnie's Mother).

Both were mainstays at the school. Paul served as principal from 1955 until his death in 1980, and Nellie served as secretary for 17 years.

An interesting side note was that Paul had previously been principal at the Watertown School and had been assigned to be the Five Points Principal when that school opened. However, construction at the Five Points school was delayed so the students went to school for two years at the First Methodist Church's Wesley hall (Now the Brannon, Brown law office building) until construction for Five Points was complete and ready for student occupancy.

*To CHS grad George Hunter who donated a rare 17 x 24 poster showing the members of the 1970 Richardson Wolves 9th Grade Center football team. Some members of that team were George, Richard Giebeig, Marty Hudson, Skipper McRae, Guy Williams, Delvey Dicks, and Wayne and Willie Jernigan.

Their coaches were Head Coach Rick Rawleigh and assistant coaches Rhea Hart, Jake Bradley, and Mike Murphy.


Harold Williams (CHS 1947) died Saturday, March 21, at age 80. He had been a starting forward on CHS's only state championship basketball team 62 years ago. His fellow members of the starting five were Wink Criswell (center), Jerry Willis and Dee Dee Barnes (Guards), and Pat Summerall and Harold (Forwards). Jim Melton was their coach.


The hospital recovery room is the place hospitals send you to lie down after you see your medical bills. square

H. Morris Williams is a local historian and long-time Columbia County resident.