By Les Dixon / Sports Editor

Former Corbin Redhound basketball and football star Robert Marion Cluggish passed away Sept. 5, 2008 in Florida.

Cluggish was MVP of the 1936 Kentucky High School State Tournament, while guiding Corbin High School to its first and only state basketball championship.

“Big Clugg” was the most dominating player in the history of the state tournament as he scored 57 percent of his team’s total tournament points.

In an era of low scoring games, he scored 61 points in four state tournament games, as he led Corbin to a 28-1 record in 1936. There was a second Cluggish, Stan, known as “Little Clugg,” who also had an outstanding season. The brothers were both selected to the All State Tournament Team and both received basketball scholarships to the University of Kentucky. Robert Cluggish was also a member of the Kentucky All State Football Team.

He was the starting center on three of Kentucky’s Southeastern Conference championship teams and Cluggish was the starting center on the first New York Knicks professional basketball team. He was considered as one of the first “big men” in the NBA with his 6-foot-10 frame.

He was a first year selection in Corbin High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He put Corbin’s basketball program at the pinnacle of high school basketball in 1936 with his memorable performance in leading Corbin to the state championship.

Cluggish was MVP and his 61 points made him the top scorer of the tournament. He led Corbin past Kirksey 27-24 in the first round of the state tournament, which ended Kirksey’s 29-game win streak in the process.

He also led the Redhounds past both Henderson (27-17) and Paris (33-19) before Corbin’s game against Nebo in the state finals.

Cluggish scored nine points in the state title game to lead the Redhounds past Nebo (24-18), while ending Nebo’s 42-game win streak during the process.

Kentucky newspapers were filled with his pictures during the basketball season. He also had scholarship offers to play college football. His height was unusual in those days, and he couldn’t be stopped in catching passes on the football field.

Cluggish went on to have an outstanding record as a high school football coach in Florida (Howard High School), winning several state titles. After decades of teaching and coaching at Howard, he retired and the gymnasium at the school was named in his honor.

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