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Basketball memories: That talented, athletic Burkesville team

An article by Glasgow's Ronnie Ellis and a comment in it about the State Champion Glasgow Scotties Mr. Ellis remembered evoked memories also of then GHS Coach Jim Richards, his mentor John Burr, and Richards' hero; Ed Diddle. It brought to mind, as well, the saga of the parallel greatness of a Burkesville High School team - of state championship athleticism and talent - from the same era, and unexpected outcome in the Bowling Green Regional when those Panthers met Martha Norris Memorial High School. It's all from memory, without notes or research, so comments and further enlightenment will be appreciated.
The article by Ronnie Ellis referred to defines the Sixties in a whole new way. Read it: Ronnie Ellis reflections on the day JFK was shot

By John Chowning

I remember well when Glasgow won the state championship in basketball under Adair County's Jim Richards, who later coached at WKU. We cheered for Glasgow in Cumberland County. I think that was the first team from our region to win a state championship. We knew of his Adair County roots.


Speaking of basketball, I can vaguely remember traveling to Louisville to watch the great Adair County team, coached by Coach Burr, play in the Louisville Invitational Tournament against Louisville Male - I believe - the 1955 team that was runner up in the state tournament - if I'm not mistaken.

Another basketball story I remember hearing was a statement Coach Burr, who in our family was considered one of the great high school coaches of Kentucky history, remarking that the great Burkesville High School team of that same era was the most talented and athletic team he had seen.

The BHS team, of that same general period, was undefeated going into a regional tournament game against, if my memory is correct. Martha Norris Memorial High School (aka Marrowbone High School), a team BHS had defeated multiple times during the regular season. MHS upended BHS in the regional tourney in Bowling Green. I don't remember the game or season but heard the story many times growing up. That at least is what I recall being told by others as I grew up. We grew up cheering on Coach Diddle and the WKU Toppers and cheered for WKU when Clem Haskins and other greats played there.

High school and college basketball were favorite topics in our family - along with an occasional theological and political discussion. - John Chowning


This story was posted on 2012-11-25 10:29:54
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