Whitesburg KY

Moments and Memories of WHS



Whitesburg High School football coaches

Part 1

Marvin Glenn was born March 17, 1901 at Calhoun. Mr. Glenn attended Calhoun Graded School and high school, being graduated from high school in 1921. He taught school for a year in McLean County. He then entered Kentucky Wesleyan College at Winchester in the fall of 1922. Mr. Glenn finished his college course there taking and A.B. Degree in 1926, majoring in English and French and earned a minor in Education.

Mr. Glenn worked his way through college and was president of his freshman class and senior class in college.

Mr. Glenn came to Whitesburg as English Professor and basketball coach in 1926. He assumed the duties of football coach in 1928.

Beckham Combs was born Nov. 6, 1903. He was one of 11 children born to John S. Combs and Clarinda Gayheart Combs of Vest on Ball’s Fork of Troublesome Creek in Knott County. Beckham received his early education at Vest Grade School. He received his high school education at Eastern. Before he finished high school, he received the first athletic scholarship given to a Knott Countian and went on to get his college education at Eastern, where he played football, basketball and baseball. After he graduated from Eastern University, Beckham taught and served as football coach at WHS. He became Superintendent of the Knott County School System in 1932.

John Horkey began his work at WHS in September, 1932. Mr. Horkey graduated from Centre College, Danville.

The new coach has had three years experience as a player on the Centre team (wearing #12) and is quite capable of handling the boys who are out to make the team. His job of trying to hold the standard of the team up to the last year’s mark is indeed a very diffi cult one. Only one regular of last year’s team reported back and the remainder of the team must be molded out of material which is light and inexperienced. Some of the boys who have shown promise thus far in the works are Archie Fields, Kile Campbell, Hubert Maggard, Homer Stamper, Woodrow Whitaker, Bert Day, Bill Baker, Carl Holbrook, and Kirkwood Whitaker, who is the only regular to report back.

Along with molding the team, the coach had to reorganize the athletic association which was started here last year to boost high school athletics.

Dick Bourne: No information available at this time.

Millard Tolliver was born in Letcher County and attended grade school at Democrat and graduated from high school at Buckhorn, where he proved to be an outstanding athlete as well as a good student. He attended Maryville College in Tennessee, a Presbyterian institution. He played four years of football for the college. He received his A.B. Degree with majors in History and Education.

Mr. Tolliver became head coach at WHS in the fall of 1934, after teaching two years at the Kingdom Come Settlement School.

The experience he gained in his football career at Maryville was put to use at WHS where Coach Tolliver’s teams won 75 percent of their grid games and made Whitesburg a respected team in Big Sandy grid circles.

Follace Fields was born in Letcher County Jan. 6, 1914. He attended Whitesburg High School for three years in which he was a member of the Yellow Jacket football team. Follace played on the 1930-31 team in the position of quarterback and was coached by Beckham Combs and his assistant coach, Montjoy Savage.

This team went 11-0, the first undefeated season in WHS history, and until one of the last games no team had scored against them. During the entire season, only Hazard was able to score one touchdown. This team scored 355 points and allowed its opponents only six points.

Follace moved to Lake City, Fla., at the end of his junior year and graduated from Lake City High School. He received a football scholarship to play college ball in Tennessee but due to an injury, he transferred to Georgetown College. He spent two years there as an assistant coach to the Georgetown Tigers. He earned his A.B. Degree with a major in Science.

Mr. Fields accepted the head coaching job for the Whitesburg Yellow Jackets in the fall of 1940 and selected Dean Addington as his assistant.

Follace served as head coach from 1940 to 1942 and again during the 1946-47 school year.

From the Sept. 20, 1946 Mountain Eagle: Under the excellent coaching and training of Follace Fields, the Whitesburg High School Yellowjackets are really playing some good football this season. They have played two games and won both by a good score. In fact they were so far ahead in each game that the second team had a chance to perform in a real game. The first game was played on Sept. 8 against Loyall, and the score was 19-0. On Sept. 14, they met the Jenkins Cavaliers and both games were on the home field. The score for the Jenkins game was 53 to 0.

Joda Adams was born in Letcher County. His parents were Will and Loretta Adams who lived in what is now the Mouth of Cowan at Hampton Branch. He graduated from Whitesburg High School in 1934 and attended Morehead State College on a football scholarship. He was selected as All-OVC and All-American as a member of the Eagles Squad. Mr. Adams received his B.S. Degree with a major in Science. He taught Biology and General Business at WHS.

Joda accepted the head coaching job at Whitesburg High School in the fall of 1942 and served until 1945. The members of his last team were Wendell Collier, Co-Captain; Van Cornett, Captain; Alex Hall, Raymond Polly, Frank Dawahare, Herbert Caudill, Earl Read, Robert Pace, Thomas Fugate, Herman Sergent, Jack Banks, Cecil Webb, Rex Edminston, Bill Pigman, William Cook, Bill Fairchild and James Long.

From Coach Adams’s first year: On Nov. 13, on the home field with a winning score of 34 to 0 against Wheelwright’s 11, Whitesburg High School’s football season came to a close. This little unassuming team rolled up a score of 105 points against their opponents’ 33. Coach Joda Adams built up a fighting team by hard work, strict training and appeal to the boys. In their Captain, John D. Sergent, the boys had a leader they could follow and depend on doing right. He, with his quarterback, Kethal Reynolds, will make Big Sandy All-Conference team.

Players of the season were Bryce Franklin, Paul Pigman, James Thornberry, Kethal Reynolds, Jimmie Craft, Junior Keith, Robert Hall, Morrell Pendleton, Ossie Amburgey, Willis Banks, Clay Banks, Cecil Newsome, Cecil Caudill, Ralph Day Gomer Goins, Hatler Cook, Jack Little and John D. Sergent.

Millard Saylor, a native of Middlesboro, assumed the duties of head coach of the Yellowjackets for one season, 1946-47. He previously served as the head coach at Hall High School in Harlan County.

Coach Saylor played his collegiate football at Union College where he was a member of the “U” Club, earning his letter as a member of the Bulldog football team.

From the Union yearbook: “Red Bird can well be proud of their only representative, ‘Bull’ Saylor, on Union’s team.” He was a member of the 1937 graduating class.

Coach Millard Saylor’s Yellowjackets have played four good teams this season, Prestonsburg, Paintsville, Pikeville, and Cumberland, the latter three games on the home field. The Yellowjackets have scored 36 points against their four opponents. They have made more first downs and more yardage than their opponents. They have four more games to play, all on the opponent’s field.

The Yellowjackets’ three touchdowns were made by Bill Pigman, Tom Fugate, and Ishmael Craft. Much of the credit is given to the cheerleaders for their enthusiasm and efforts in encouraging the boys.

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