Hoop Values-Road to McQuaid-
It was an eye opening intramual game, The Gym was not packed, however there were a lot of people at the game, most certainly nearly all the African American Students. I put together a pretty good team especially the starting five. Eddie Debro, Mike Beatie, Don Tester, the only white player on either team were good. Being tested from playing basketball in Louisville, Kentucky I knew that I had some talent and could compete. Don Tester, the white player from Bristol, played in high school and I was interested in getting him for rebounding and sure enough he delivered every game. In the championship game, I scored eight points, I had two blocks, 3 assist and I ran the offense.
Lynn Ring, Tim Fleming and Bob Hall, were former Buc players who started in the NCAA tournament for the ETSU Bucs in 1968. They were out of shape for this game, however, they had enough left to beat us, however we gave them more than all they could handle. It was a fun game and a great time.
I was able to see some very good basketball games and some very good basketball players in the Ohio Valley Conference that East Tennessee State was affliated with. At that time some 20 to 25 miles away there was a pretty good basketball player by the name of Skip Brown who played for Kingspoint Dobbyns-Bennett High School. He was a senior at Dobbyns-Bennett High School during my Freshman year at ETSU. I saw this kid play at Vanderbilt University my Senior Year of High School. This guy was a scorer, could penetrate the lane and had a smooth pull up jumper or could dish to the open man. or shoot a very accurate three point shot. It turns out that Skip Brown was recruited and signed with Wake Forrest and set a few records during his four years at Wake Forrest. I saw at least 3 games that he played in that year at Dobbyns-Bennett High School and in Johnson City.
East Tennessee State University played home games in the old Brooks Arena that year 1972-73. The Mini-Dome was under construction. To me the entire concept of the Mini Dome was cool. I can’t imagine why the brain trust at ETSU could not make the facility work. I believe it was not well thought out, however it had potential if someone with vision and creativity was put in charge of the construction. The Bucs finished 9-17 overall and 2-12 in the conference.
I graduated from ETSU in August 1976. The best player that ETSU had that year was Henry White, a 6-3 Shooting Guard who would have been an excellent three point shooter if the rule were in effect. I remember one game he scored 38 points. He averaged 19 points per game that year.
Some great players came to Johnson City that year, Frank Jones, Wayne Pack from Tennessee Tech, Les Taylor of Murray State, Johnny Britt of Western Kentucky, Charlie Mitchell, Eastern Kentucky, Kevin Gray, Univerity of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Billy Martin and Jimmy Powell, Middle Tennessee State. They were all decent players, although none were good enough to make the NBA.
If my first year was was uneventful my sophmore year was highlighted not by good competition on ETSU’s team, but by excitment when James Fly Williams, from Austin Peay came to town to play the Bucs. The legend of James “Fly” Williams, stands tall at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tennessee. Williams landed at Austin Peay from the Bronx and brought his magic to Northwest Tennessee to a little school called Austin Peay, not a local lawyer, but an actual college. In a small town called Clarksville. The town where I was born. The town is most noted for its close proximity to Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne division in the U.S. army. Fly started his heroics in 1972-73 when he took the Ohio Valley Conference by storm.
Time moved on and so did I. I decided to transfer to Memphis State University, but ended up staying there only six months before I made the decision to transfer to University of Tennessee-Chattanooga until I could reapply to ETSU and resume studies there in the summer. I was pretty confused at this point and I needed to settle down. I re-enrolled to ETSU in the summer of 1975.