"Good Morning Earlington:
School Principals Remembered"
I gave a quick once-over to the principals of the Earlington Independent School System. I decided to compose this before I lose all my snippets of additional information. I should add here that I have not had the time to reread the old school minutes to learn more about the early pioneer principals like Minnie Bourland (1900- ) and R.Y. Maxey ( -1910). But I’ll admit I learned a great deal about those who followed.
In her beginning both of Earlington’s white and black schools were under the same board (until the black school board was organized in ’22 with Professor Williams as its first superintendent). In May of ’21 Professor P. Moore was elected principal for the 21-22 school year although I do not know how long he was employed. In the ‘35-36 school year Stanley Morris was principal with Austin Edwards his assistant. This was when the school name changed from Earlington Colored High School to J. W. Million. Morris remained principal until he retired in ’43 and Lester Mimms took his place. When J.W. Million closed in ’65, Professor Mimms was her last principal (‘43-65) and coach(‘35-65). "Thoughts of thee will ne’er be few. Alma Mater, we love you!"
The first year that Earlington had a four-year white high school was the 1912-13 school year. The first principal and superintendent of the combined boards (known as the Earlington Graded Schools) in 1912 was C.E. Dudley (1910-21). In ’21 (until ’24) J. Arthur Mitchell became the 2nd superintendent, and Mary Crittenden Hickman (1920-21) became the first high school principal. Professor A.P. Prather became the 3rd superintendent until retiring in ’62. I have not been able to ascertain if there were any other principals between Hickman and L.J. McGinley, who came in ’28.
"Mac" (as Mr. McGinley was best known) remained the longest and possibly had the most influence on the system. He was forced to retire in ’41 due to ill health. Nina Almon says he was her 8th grade teacher at Mortons where he taught English for a year after leaving Earlington. Mr. McGinley was a teacher and administrator although not a coach as most principals in Kentucky seem expected to be. Therefore, Dixon Nisbet was hired as coach for the ‘28-29 school year, and Buford Webb was hired the following year and remained here throughout the ‘30s. Webb, a former basketball star for White Plains, attended Western Kentucky State College and played ball with the "Big Red" for one of this nation’s most colorful coaches Ed Diddle. At least two sets of brothers—the Cothrans and Larmouths-- played for Coach Webb for several years.
In ’41 when Mr. McGinley resigned, a news article noted that Raymond Long would temporarily take over for him until a replacement was found. In ’42 that replacement was J. Noel Glasscock. (Mr. Perham would be the coach that year.) Mr. Glasscock and his first wife Ada roomed at Mrs. Edith Hardesty’s E. Main home. Ada was employed as an 8th grade teacher. (Bob Fox was one of her students in ’43.) Two years later Coach Glasscock married Rebecca Fisher. (Sam Offutt III was one of her 4th grade students in ‘44-45.) Glasscock moved in ’45, and Lloyd Bernard became the new principal/coach. I have seen a photo of Coach Bernard with his team that ‘45-46 year. They consisted of Bob and Bill Fox, "Poochie" Stokes, Hershel Hicks, Bill Taylor, Bob Hill, Tommy Buchanan, John Fenwick, "Skeeter" Carnal, Fred Davis, Dewey Grant, Charles Beeny, and Buddy McCormick. The following year after Bernard moved to Georgia for another coaching position, many of these same guys played for the new coach/principal, Pat Weir. After only a few games Coach Weir took on an assistant--who was not on staff as a teacher—Lay-Coach Hammon. Mr. Weir was married to Nedra Bayne, the daughter of Otley "Curly" Vannoy, and the couple were only here for the ‘46-47 school year before moving on to Berea College.
Beginning the next year in 1947 Charles "Buck" Atkinson, the new coach/principal, arrived and took his basketball very seriously. He stayed until 1950 when he was replaced for one semester by Thomas Verdell Oglesby of Mortons. Then in ’51 came the only principal I ever remembered and that was James Larmouth(4th and final superintendent) who in ’56 was Earlington’s first coach to take a boys’ team to State (at that time in Lexington). The team defeated in the quarter finals by Wayland consisted of Harry Todd, Pat Kirkwood, Paul Stodghill, Sonny Robinson, M.C. Barber, Don Fugate, Don Smith, Bob Byrum, Buck Lamb, and Bob Harvey. James and his boys got another chance in ’62 (this time in Louisville’s Freedom Hall) but were defeated in the quarter finals by Ashland. Team members were Wes Coffman, Ron Coffman, Wayne Barnett, Dale Morgan, Tom Hayes, Gary Gamble, Bill Fox, Roger McGregor, Ron Epley, and Don Gamblin.
Larmouth’s successor in ’62 was the dynamic Bob Fox (coach and principal) who amassed this amazing five-year record: ‘62-63 season (regional runner up), ’64 (district runner up), ’65 (district winner), ’66 (regional champ/defeated at State in opening game), ’67 (district, regional, and state champ). The boys who brought home KY’s State Basketball 50th Anniversary Championship Trophy in ’67 were Justin Sharp, Tyrone Hopson (who made that famous last second winning basket), Jim Hicks, Arthur Johnson, Bob Leavell, Larry & Greg Martin, Lonnie Burgett, Alvin & Calvin Moore, and Charles Smith.
Bob Fox remained Earlington’s "Mr. Basketball" until ’67 until he was followed by Millon’s well-known educator and principal Professor Lester Mimms ( principal, ‘67-70) and David Jenkins (coach,‘67-73). When Professor Mimms retired in ’70, few would have dreamed that the little school would only have five years remaining as an independent system.
In those last years Bill Dunning succeeded Professor Mimms as principal for one year (’70-’71) then Bob Rogers as principal/coach (‘71-73, now superintendent of Caldwell County Schools). It was left for Lige Shadowen as principal (‘73-75) and Bob McCord as coach (74-75) to close out an amazing era of the Earlington Independent School System…this system called by a variety of titles in its hundred year history, begun by John B. Atkinson, and nurtured in 1879 in its infancy by pioneer teacher Kate Rouse barely out of her teens and boarding with her benefactor in a tiny coal mining village in western Kentucky. And I am proud to have had even the smallest role in it all. "Hail to thee, EHS, proudly standing against that eastern border…" even if now only in our memories.
Ann Gipson 12-16-2001