Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bossier High memories ...

(Second in a series)
     With the 100th anniversary celebration coming up Saturday, memories of Bossier High School from some with ties to the school:
      Ken Kruithof -- He went from student and quarterback, to coach and teacher, to middle-school principal, and then to superintendent of Bossier Parish schools (and later Calvary Baptist).
      "I entered Bossier High School in the fall of 1963 as a skinny, scared sophomore.  I went out for football, and our head coach was Bill Maxwell.  We had nine players who signed Division I scholarships after the season; players such as Joe Reding and Neal Prather, who both signed with LSU.  We were 7-3 and did not make the playoffs.  
      "We had Billy Hudson as head coach for our junior year, and Milford Andrews our senior year. Jimmy Gilbert would have been our starting quarterback, but his Dad became head coach at Bastrop after our junior year. Jimmy signed with LSU after his senior year, and as luck would have it, I became the starter at QB. 
      "We beat Bastrop 20-19 our senior year, which ended a dismal 2-9. I was fortunate to set state records for pass attempts and completions for really two reasons: (1) We were behind most of the time and (2) I called the plays.
      "After college, I came back to Bossier Parish as a teacher/coach at Parkway in 1970. One of the highlights of my coaching career was finally beating Bossier High. 
      "I had several career goals: head coach at Bossier, and principal at Parkway, which I never achieved. In 2000, after the School Board ran out of candidates, I was selected as superintendent, and served until June 30, 2009.
      "One of the memories I have of Bossier High is how the students and faculty rallied around me after my mother and sister were killed in an auto accident December 3, 1963, during my sophomore year. The support they provided greatly helped me through a difficult time.
      "I'll always be grateful for Bossier High, and the opportunities I have experienced.  Proud to be a "BEARKAT."
      Tommy Henry -- Teacher and coach (offensive backs in football, highly successful head baseball coach) and then commissioner of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association for 24 years.
       "After a two-year stint in the Army and just as I was set to complete work on my master's degree, I applied for a teaching and coaching position in Bossier Parish. The only position open was at Bossier High School and I was invited to make a site visit to the school.
       "The minute I walked into that building I knew that was where I wanted to start my career in high school education.  I felt just like I was at 'home' as I did at Bolton High School in Alexandria.  I attended Bolton from eighth grade for five years through graduation and dearly loved that school.
       "So I fell in love with Bossier High from that moment and that love lasted for 12 special years as a teacher and coach in the home of the Bearkats.
       "It turned out that our principal, Frank Lampkin, was also an Alexandria boy and grew up two houses from where I lived.
       "Those 12 years I spent at Bossier provided me with probably the best years of my life.
       "I can never remember dreading to go to teach there one single day during those 12 special blessed years that were so gratifying and rewarding in so many intangible ways -- even on the day after our baseball team lost a state championship game to Minden.  
       "Bossier High was blessed with not only a wonderful principal, but also with outstanding teachers, coaches and staff members -- and with such a variety of wonderful students. 
        "That's why even today I hold so many wonderful memories of my days at Bossier High School deep in my mind, heart and soul."
        Joe Reding -- His father, E.L. Reding, was Bossier High's football coach in the late 1920s and twice principal of the school (1933-36, 1949-52) and the school gymnasium is named for him. Dick Reding, two years older than Joe, was a three-sport standout at Bossier, then excellent in football and the shot put at Northwestern State. Joe was a three-year All-City football player at Bossier (1961-63), a linebacker and fullback, a superstar shot putter, and a starting offensive lineman for LSU in the late 1960s.
        "BHS has always been a very special place to me. I grew up in the shadows of the school, across from the old swimming pool at one end of Bearkat Drive.
        "When I was just 5-6 years old, during the summer I would get up and head to the railyards and the Gym Dandy scrap yard on the backside of the school property. This is where I played all morning.
        "I remember staring at the football stadium, dreaming that one day I would play there. My heroes were the BHS football players of the 1950s. This is where it all started for me.
         "From there many memories and friends (far too many to mention). I remember things good and bad. The highlight was probably winning three straight state shot put titles and being the first in Louisiana to exceed 60 feet. The low point was not being able to figure out why we could not beat Woodlawn in the final football game each season.
         "Two special relationships. The first was coach Bobby Ray McHalffey. After my father passed away, he became a father figure to me and when I later entered the coaching ranks, he was my friend, coach and mentor. I will be forever grateful and cherish the memories.
         "The second was a cute little blonde named Karen, who I dated, later married, and remain so after 52 wonderful years.
         "Yes, indeed, BHS was a very special place for me."
         Bill Tynes (Class of '68) -- star of the Bossier basketball team that reached the Class AAA state championship game, later head basketball coach at Haughton High School.
         "I have many fond memories of Bossier High School:
         "My freshman year while practicing football, I broke my collarbone. Coach Jim Coleman took me to the hospital, where he met my sister, Jimmie Ruth, and a year and a half later, they were married. They've now been married for 51 years. Pretty neat.
         "Then there was the time I was chased down the hall by Mrs. Hudson while riding my little brother's bicycle on the last day of school of my junior year. I thought I would be suspended the first three days of my senior year. Luckily, summer vacation sometimes makes people forget. Thank the Lord for that.
          "Then there was basketball. The Jolly Green Giants. My senior year we were fortunate enough to play for the state championship. The starting five were Dave Stevens, Pesky Hill, Mike Wood, Bill Triplett and myself.  Of the starting five,  only myself and Pesky are left. Dave, Mike and Bill were  called to their Heavenly Reward much too soon.
         "Spirit breakfasts -- what fun! Getting to start our day before school in the cafeteria with a pep rally for that 'most important' football game. Many times our band, The Madhatters (Mike Price, Bobby Kolb, Phil Sage, Mike Theodos and myself), would provide the music. Great times.
       "Last, and most important, I met my future wife Bonnie at Bossier when she moved there our senior year. We've been married for 46 years. So, in a sense, I have Bossier High to thank for my family, many friends, events and memories that will always be with me. Go Bearkats!"
        Billy Don McHalffey -- Long family ties to the school. His father, Bobby Ray, was a Bossier High QB and later an assistant coach, then became head coach at Ferriday and a very successful 15-year tenure at Haughton High: 106-60-2 record, including the Class 3A state championship in 1977. Billy Don, first a Bossier student/player and later an assistant coach, is the longest-serving (16 years) head coach in school history, with three district titles, playoff teams every year and a 108-76 record.
        "My grandmother (Mom's mother) was on the 1925 basketball team, and my Mom (Billye) played in 1947-48 and 1949-50.
        "My Dad had four brothers and a sister who all went to Bossier. Elmo, the oldest brother, was an outstanding player in 1931. Billy Joe (I was named for him) played in the mid-1940s and coach Randol Kirkland told me he returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown but ran about 200 yards as he cut back and forth across the field at least four times. Coach said it was the longest return he ever saw.
        "My Dad was the quarterback for the last [Bossier] state championship team in football in 1948.
        "I was a 1970 graduate and played football and basketball.
        "My Mom worked at BHS [in the school office] for 30 years and I came back in 1976 and coached 31 years. It was a helluva ride, with big wins and crushing defeats.
        "My family does have a lot of years with BHS and we all loved our time there. A book could be written about my years at BHS.
        "One of the best compliments for our football program came from [Byrd, then Northwood coach] Jerry Burton about our kids. He always said he hated playing Bossier because no matter the record, the week after our game, he always had a beat-up team for his next game. He said he admired the toughness and how hard our kids played every game.
       "That speaks to the type of kids we coached at Bossier. I really appreciated what he said. It was something I will remember coming from a coach I highly respected.
       "I was very lucky to have had a playoff team in all 16 years as the head coach. I had a great staff and some really good players; all the things you need to win."

1 comment:

  1. From Susan Updegraff: What fun to read. I taught at Parkway with Kenny Kruithof and didn't know he had been the superintendent of Bossier school. I learned something new today.