Kingsport Times-News from Kingsport, Tennessee on December 20, 1983 · 27
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Kingsport Times-News from Kingsport, Tennessee · 27

Kingsport, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 20, 1983
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Coaches ’ deaths fog state sports in 1983 By JIM LEWIS fJPI Sports Writer NASHVILLE Tenn — The deaths of two major football coaching figures in 1983 — one in a tragic accident and the other after a sad and valiant struggle with an overtaxed heart dampened 1983 in Tennessee sports The legendary John Merritt one of the most successful coaches in college history finally sucumbed to his ailing heart Dec 15 Memphis State's popular Rex Dockery and three other people died in a plane crash three days earlier in Lawrence County while en route to speak at a high school football banquet There were other happier events in 1983 which showed achievement in Tennessee sports: Tennessee went to the Citrus Bowl after an 8-3 regular season and defeated Atlantic Coast Conference champion Maryland 30-23 Memphis State Tennessee and Chattanooga all went to the NCAA basketball tournament last spring after excellent seasons Darrell Waltrip of Franklin finished second in the NASCAR championship race after winning the title two years running In his 31 years of coaching the first 11 at Jackson State in Mississippi and the final 20 at Nashville’s Tennessee State University Merritt compiled a record of 233-67-11 He never had a losing record He was third in victories in modern-day football behind the late Paul “Bear” Bryant and Grambling’s Eddie Robinson Merritt had been ill for the past few seasons but continued as head coach in name until he resigned Nov 21 because of continuing health problems Dockery’s performance at Memphis State this past season was one of the high points in this year’s sports achievements His death at 41 made that performance even more memorable Tuesday December 20 1983 Kingsport Times-News 3D United Press International Dockery's Tigers made a 180-degree turn in 1983 and got their act on the winning side of the street with a 6-4-1 record after two successive 1-10 seasons It was the best season for Memphis State since 1977 when the Tigers were 6-5 But Dockery offensive coordinator Chris Faros freshman defensive back Charles Greenhill and pilot Glenn Jones perished when their plan nose-dived into the ground about four miles from Lawrenceburg in mist and rain Dec 12 In Johnson City East Tennessee State football coach Buddy Sasser’s first team after leaving Wofford went 3-8 One w in was in the Southern Conference as the Bucs whipped The Citadel 45-0 KTSU basketball coach Barry Dowd’s first year brought a 22-9 record and a benh in the National Invitation Tournament where the Bucs lost to Vandy in the first round 79-74 In cross country ETSU was sixth in the nation in 1983 It was the 13th straight year that the Bucs made the nationals The Memphis State Tigers will just about have to go to the Final Four if they want to improve on last year The Tigers made it to the regional finals of the NCAA basketball tournament last season beating Georgetown but losing to eventual national champion Houston 70-63 The Tigers finished 23-8 with All-America forward Keith Lee an agile 6-10 leaper with a bomb-sight shooting touch leading the way with more than 10 rebounds and 20 points per game This season the Tigers have again cracked the Top 10 and appear headed for another NCAA bid Tennessee’s basketball team started the season with high hopes with superstar forward Dale Ellis returning They breezed to eight straight wins to start the season and carried an 8-1 mark into the SEC season After tying with Kentucky for the SEC championship in 1982 Tennessee was expected to make a strong bid for the crown again But instead they posted a 9-9 record losing their last three regular season games to finish in a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference The Vols defeated Florida and LSU in the SEC tournament to advance to the semifinal round but then they ran into Georgia and lost 79-60 There was considerable doubt whether Tennessee would be invited to the NCAA tournament after its late-season problems but the selection committee gave the Vols a bid for the fifth consecutive year — every year of Don DeVoe’s tenure In the tournament Tennessee defeated Marquette 57-56 then lost to Final Four-bound Louisville 70-57 Their season record was 20-12 Ellis was chosen All-America He he set a team single scoring record by pouring in 724 points He averaged 226 points per game Murray Arnold’s Tennessee-Chattanooga team went to the NCAA for the third year in a row before bowing to Maryland in the first round 52-51 The Memphis Showboats will bring professional football to Tennessee in 1984 Team owner Logan Young a millionaire businessman got the Memphis franchise and hired former Georgia Tech coach Pepper Rodgers to run the club The Showboats have signed a roster of players including a few NFL veterans some former Memphis State stars and a bench full of unknowns hoping to make a splash in the USFL Season ticket sales neared the 22000 mark and team officials hope for a full house when the Showboats kick off their first season Pre-season drills begin Jan 23 at Southwestern and their first game is set for Feb 26 at the Liberty Bowl The Liberty Bowl will have to go a long way to top last year’s contest which matched stubborn Illinois against Alar bama and legendary coach Bear Bryant in his last game as the Crimson Tide coach The Bear went out a winner and the Tide gave their famous coach his last victory celebration and carried him off the field on their shoulders The man who owned more college football victories than any other active coach died just a few weeks after the big game This year’s clash features Notre Dame against Boston College Memphis businessman Avron Fogelman already a baseball owner with the Memphis Chicks farm club of the Montreal Expos got a piece of the big leagues this year when he bought 49 percent interest in the Kansas City Royals Principal owner Ewing Kaufmann agreed to sell his 51 percent share to Fogelman by 1991 for a total cost of $22 million Larry Mize won the $400000 Danny Thomas-Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club’s south course the longest 18-hole layout on the pro tour Ground was broken in November on Tennessee’s $30 million 25000-seat basketball arena that will surpass Kentucky’s Rupp Arena to be the nation’s largest basketball arena The as-yet-unmamed arena will be built on what is now a parking lot next to Neyland Stadium The new facility is scheduled to be completed for the start of the 1985-86 basketball season LSU defensive coordinator Charles “Buddy” Nix was named head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga after spending 15 years as an assistant coach at five colleges in the South Nix 43 inherits a Chattanooga team that posted a 7-4 record this past season Moccasin coach Bill Oliver left the school to join the Memphis Showboats of the USFL Memphis Melrose won the Class AAA boys basketball championship while Memphis East won the AA title and East Robertson the Class A championship In Girls it was Mount Juliet in AAA Chattanooga City in AA and Clarkrange in A In football it was Germantown in Class AAA Knoxville Austin-East in AA and Memphis Evangelical Christian in A who took the 1983 titles Easern Kentucky again won the football championship but lost in the NCAA I-AA playoffs to Boston University 24-20 in the first round Vanderbilt’s basketgall team won 19 and lost 14 in CM Newton’s second year The Commdores were 9-9 and tied for fourth in the SEC Jimmy Connors returns a volley in his win over Ivan Lendl in the finals of the Nastase-Hamptons Invitational Jimmy Connors serves past Ivan Lendl i - NORTH MIAMI BEACH Fla (UPI) — Jimmy Connors defeated Ivan Lendl 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 yesterday to win the Nastase-Hamptons Invitational tennis tournament taking the $90000 first place prize for the second straight year It was their first meeting since the US Open final which Connors also won Connors served well and had better returns than Lendl “I started off well" said Connors the No 2 seed “I kept my returns in 'play and he hit his out more often When I got my first service break (at 3-1) in the first set it built my confidence" Lendl the No 1 seed broke back in the next game but that was to be his only break in the entire match Connors broke serve in the next game when Lendl double-faulted on game point The second set wasn’t as easy for Connors Each player held serve throughout the set which forced a tie-breaker Lendl had two aces and led 6-5 when he served the ball and heard someone call "out" Lendl thought it was a linesman but it was a fan Lendl lost the point and complained to the umpire He then ended up losing the tie-breaker 10-8 and the set "It was very upsetting losing the tie-breaker on an important point like that" Lendl said “On an insignificant point it would be no big deal but if I had won that point I would have been even in sets and it would have been a different match "Jimmy was tired and I thought in the second set it seemed like winning the tiebreaker gave him a lift Both of us tried but I guess it is easier to go on when you’re winning "It was difficult for me in the third set but I kept trying I could have lost in the first round when I was struggling but I kept fighting back and made it into the finals I wasn't able to hit strong backhands and Jimmy was playing much better so I'm not surprised he won” After losing the second set Lendl dropped the third set 6-1 and the match In doubles finals at the tournament Marty Riessen and Sherwood Stuart defeated Steve Meister and VanWinitsky 6-4 7-6 (7-3) S-Central rolls over Hampton 77-53 HAMPTON — Todd Helms scored the game-high 23 points and Steve Crowder added 19 to lead the Cougars to a 77-53 victory over Hampton Harold Dye hit 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the winners now 9-1 Mike Matheson was tops for Hampton with 18 points while Richie Baird scored 11 and Tim Campbell 10 Powell Valley 59 Ervinton 57 BIG STONE GAP — Darrell Pittman’s 15-footer with five seconds remaining in the third overtime clinched Powell Valley’s 59-57 squeaker over Ervinton The Vikings got the ball on a jump-ball and ran the clock down for the last shot by Pittman Daniel Casey led Powell Valley with 18 points and Forty Jackson and B Passon added 12 each Pittman finished with six points Scott Bise poured in the game-high 19 points for Ervinton followed by David Robinette with 16 and Lee Hill’s 13 Happy Valley 79 Cloudland 57 ELIZABETHTON — Kevin Davis scored 30 points to lead all scorers and Jeff Lyons added 14 to pace the Happy Valley After leading by just three at halftime the Warriors came out in the third quarter and out-scored Cloudland 29-11 to take control of the game and up their record to 6-4 Rodney Stocton was tops for South is victorious at Merritt Island Carl Childress took his Sullivan South Rebels to Florida last Friday to treat the 8-1 team to some rest relaxation and a good time So far they have accomplished all three Last night the Rebels eased past Rockledge 75-58 in the Merritt Island Christmas Invitational — part of the trip “We are doing great now" said Childress following the win “We played a good first half and we played real good defense" The Rebels who will play the winner of Merritt Island and Eau Gallie tomorrow night at 9 pm sprinted to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and was never seriously challenged Aaron Carroll led the Rebels with 17 points while Jason Con-kin added 14 points 11 rebounds 8 assists and 2 blocked shots South’s Kevin Sluder who scored 9 points also had six assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter “They were pretty good but the first three minutes we played the best we have all season" said Conkin South’s 6-7 center “We wanted to win because we knew we wouldn’t have too much fun tomorrow if we didn’t” Because the games won’t ef fect the Rebels in conference play Conkins says the games don’t involve as much pressure "That is one good thing about this" added Conkin “there is not that much pressure We don’t have to win” South outscored Rockledge 25-10 in the first quarter and took a 46-21 lead at halftime "They had some good quick athletes" addpd Childress “We shot good and we handled the ball real well against the press” Outside of playing good basketball the Rebels are also having a good time Tomorrow the team will visit Disney World before returning to Kingsport and Sunday they visited Cape Canaveral at Cocoa Beach Rockledge was led by James Bennett who scored 18 points and Randy Gandolfi who added 14 In Saturday’s games Merritt Island defeated Astronaut 68-47 and Rockledge beat Cocoa Beach 55-53 in overtime In last night’s consolation game Cocoa Beach defeated Astronaut 68-60 South manager “Moose" Brown said the Orlando Sentinel said the Rebels were ranked third in the state rankings in Tennessee “Where they got that I don’t know” said Brown “The state rankings don’t even come out until January” Cloudland with 23 Gateway Christian 46 Seymour Christian 43 BRISTOL — Phil Guthrie sank both ends of a one-and-one with 10 seconds left in the game to break a 43-43 tie and seal the game for Gateway Christian in the first game of the Gateway Holiday Classic Phillip Guthrie scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and Gary Montgomery added 12 points and 12 rebounds to pace the winners now 4-4 and 3-1 Andy Busier led Seymour Christian with 19 points followed by Tim Arp’s 13 Kingsport Christian 65 Greeneville Christian 61 BRISTOL — Joco Crawford scored the game-high 26 points and Kim McKinney added 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Kingsport Christian now 9-1 and 7-1 Dave Reynolds was tops for Greeneville Christian with 18 points and Lance Kimball added 16 Danny Reeves scored 10 and collected 18 rebounds for Greeneville Give o lasting Christmas gift— A Knife 40 OFF 42 PATTERNS OF CASE KNIVES OTHERS IN STOCK -CASE BUCK GERBER r PIK KWIK HWY 36 - JUST BEYOND HAMMOND BRIDGE OPEN MON SAT 9 30 om-12 midnight 239-5821 vsi BEFORE YOU BUY SEE CITIZENS SUPPLY! irzi Don’t Forget Your Greatest Investment Your HOME! 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