TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Features

September 24, 2012

‘America’s Greatest Little Sports Town’ anticipated to be out next spring

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff writer

In Corbin, the tradition of excellence in sports runs deep.

Throughout the town, people still relive moments in time when a band of brothers joined others on the field, and on the court, in the pursuit of victory.

Those moments remain seared in our minds, our hearts, in words and in pictures. And at times, those moments brought championship results.

That’s why Gary West is writing a book about those moments. And he already has a title for the book.

West is calling the book, “The Boys of Corbin: America’s Greatest Little Sports Town.” And he’s set to fly to bring the rich, colorful tradition of Corbin’s contributions in sports to the printed page.

“The book will deal with the great sports families and individuals that have come out of Corbin. It will deal with the surroundings that give the city it’s unique identity, like its roots as a railroad center. And while the book will go back as far as the 1920’s to later years, it will concentrate on the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. Some have referred to that period as the “Golden Age” of Corbin sports,” West said during an interview last Friday.

When asked about some of those athletes who excelled on the gridiron, in the gym and on the field, West immediately mentioned some of Corbin’s finest.

“We’re talking about the Bird brothers. Jerry, Calvin, Billy, Rodger, and Steve Bird, Jerry’s son. There’s the Selvy family. Nine brothers and two sisters. And everyone knows what Frank Selvy did in college when he scored those 100 points for the Furman Paladins in 1954. Nick Denes. Roy Kidd, who went on to be a legend as a football coach at EKU. Fred Rader, Jesse Grant, Ted Meadors, and the Boone Brothers, Winton and Ronnie “Cruiser” Boone. These are the people. Their stories will be unbelievable,” noted West.

A former journalist who was born and raised in Elizabethtown and now a travel writer who lives in Bowling Green, West has written for several publications, including Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living magazines. He writes a syndicated column, “Out & About…Kentucky Style,” for several newspapers in the state, and was an athletics administrator for 13 years at Western Kentucky University. Currently retired, he was executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1993 to 2005.

Most of all, West has connections with several of those from Corbin who went to WKU. He pointed out his book is a way of paying back those friends from college, by showing the reader the close relationship a town has with its hometown athletes.

“The spirit of being a Redhound was more than being on the field, or on the court. It was being in the stands, following the team, and knowing what the team was doing. Here’s an example. Corbin High would take 2,000 fans to Danville to watch the Redhounds play the Admirals. In return, Danville fans would fill up a special train to take them to the game in Corbin. That was before the Interstate Highway system was built,” West said.

He’s put a year into researching, interviewing and writing the book, which West hopes to have finished by next spring. As an experienced writer, West hopes the painstaking care he’s put into his work will make for a fascinating read for the ages.

“First, my goal is to be historically accurate. Second, to be entertaining. And third, that someone younger will enjoy reading it and appreciate the tradition this town has for sports, because it truly is a tradition,” he stated.

To be accurate, West has gone over several pictures of times gone by. But there’s one picture he definitely wants to have for the book. One that he says shows the essence of Corbin’s love affair with their sports heroes.

“It was in the late 50’s, maybe 1958, ‘59. That picture in particular was when Calvin Bird played for UK, and they beat Tennessee. There was a sign or banner on the overpass on what was then Center Street, now Roy Kidd Avenue. The sign said, ‘Bird 20, UT 0,’ If anybody’s got the picture, or knows someone who has a picture, please get in touch with me,” West asked.

West can be contacted by email at west1488@insightbb.com, or at his website, www.garywest.com.

When the book comes out next spring, West wants to come back to Corbin for what he called “a blowout book release,” either at Campbell Field or the old Edwards Gymnasium. He says the two locations were special to the players who plied their skills to the game so well. To the fans who witnessed those thrills and left with lasting memories. And above all, to the legacy those individuals and families have left, for the future to build on.

“I’ve been so well received by people in Corbin that I feel like I’ve lived here. I’ve reconnected with people I went to school with, and met people who have filled me in on this town’s rich sports history. It’s a story that needs to be told,” West pointed out.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • 0708 Kelsey White Miss Ky.jpg Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown

    A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014. 

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0621 Flag Day-Legion.jpg Elks Lodge hosts Flag Day ceremony

    Tri-County Elks Lodge #2826 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America hosted a Flag Day ceremony Saturday, June 14.

    June 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0621 Zip Line.jpg Flying across Sheltowee

    There was a brief burst of laughter as they all joked about signing their lives away, but there was also a hint of nervousness about it.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rose Masters-ALA88 president.jpg Masters elected Legion Auxiliary 88 president

    Rose Masters (left) accepts her president’s gavel from Department of Kentucky Past President Brenda Berry during the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 88’s June meeting.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0619 Smart Shop.jpg Smart Shopping

    Andrew Pennington, 24, born and raised in Corbin, was also born into the retail business, with his parents, Tim and Sarah Pennington, operating the Pennington Block Company.

    June 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0616 Nelda Barton-Collings.jpg The life and death of Nelda

    Nelda Lambert Barton-Collings passed away Friday, and, according to U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, “Kentucky has lost a true jewel.”

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0611 storm damage 1.jpg Storm Damage June 10, 2014 Damage reports came from all across the Tri-County area after Tuesday’s storms swept through southeast Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

    June 11, 2014 1 Story

  • 0602 Extraordinary Olympics-ceremony.jpg Going for the Gold

    Tisha Duncan received a gold medal at Saturday’s slalom event. Neither she, the spectators, nor those waiting at the finish line seemed to notice or even care that it took her a whopping 78 seconds to get there or that her feet never once touched the ground.

    June 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • 0530 Kristina Smith.jpg KPA intern joins the Times-Tribune staff

    Kristina Smith has joined the Times-Tribune staff this summer as an intern through the Kentucky Press Association.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0517 KSP Estes.jpg Selling Safety Through Magic

    Long before the days of email, smart phones and social media, one Kentucky State Police pioneer was blazing a trail using innovation and outside-the-box thinking to spread safety messages throughout Kentucky.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter