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Author Bill Elder, former Columbia resident , here Oct. 23, 2007
Will speak at Slider Hall at Lindsey Wilson College on new book, "All Guts and No Glory"
By Duane Bonifer
Special ColumbiaMagazine.com story
When 23-year-old Bill Elder was hired in 1965 to start a men's basketball program at Northeast State Junior College in Scottsboro, Ala., he was exited about being a college basketball pioneer in the Appalachian community.
Elder became a pioneer at Northeast State, but it was a much more important kind: a civil rights trailblazer who integrated the school's intercollegiate athletics program.
Elder, who served as Lindsey Wilson College athletic director from 1998-2002, will return to Lindsey Wilson on October 23 2007 to discuss his efforts to integrate intercollegiate athletics in an area of Alabama known as Sand Mountain.
Elder will speak at 4:00pmCT on Tuesday, October 23 2007 in the W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. Elder will discuss his book, All Guts and No Glory: An Alabama Coach's Memoir of Desegregating College Athletics.
Following his talk, a book-signing will be held in the Slider Center. Elder's talk, which is part of the 2007-08 Julia Franklin & C.C. Howard Lecture and Performance Series , is free and open to the public. Published by NewSouth Books of Montgomery, AL, All Guts and No Glory recounts how Elder and the players of his first integrated team faced local scorn, intimidation and were the target of death threats by the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
As Elder points out in the book, integration was beginning to happen throughout much of the college sports landscape in the 1960s and '70s, but the media paid little attention to coaches who integrated teams at small colleges in rural areas. And, as Elder writes, many of those coaches had to contend with "the true believers in segregation."
At Northeast State, Elder writes, he was among a group of coaches whose teams "played in small arenas in front of a few hundred people, many of whom did not take kindly to social change."
Despite the threats and obstacles his players faced, Elder's team kept playing and winning games, forging bonds between that lasted long after the season was over. Through it all, Elder, an Alabama native and lifelong Baptist, watched his community with both a loving and an objective eye.
"Bill Elder's memoir combines the three most powerful and sacred elements of Alabama folk culture: sports, religion and race," wrote Wayne Flynt, an Auburn University historian and author. "Memoirs like Elder's open entirely new vistas into the civil rights struggles after laws were changed but hearts stayed pretty much the same."
In addition to his service at Lindsey Wilson and Northeast State, Elder coached the men's basketball teams at the University of Mobile (Ala.) and the University of Montevallo (Ala.). He is a member of the NAIA Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame and the University of Montevallo Sports Hall of Fame, and was recognized by the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to athletics in the city of Mobile.
Bill Elder will speak about "All Guts and No Glory: An Alabama Coach's Memoir of Desegregating College Athletics" at 4:00pmCT on Tuesday, October 23, 2007, in W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. For more information, contact the college at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 384-8102.
Duane Bonifer, the writer of this story, is Public Information Director at Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, KY. Click here to access Lindsey Wilson College online.
This story was posted on 2007-10-17 06:23:59
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