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150-plus hoop alums return for ‘100 year’ FHS celebration

Duart Walker (center), Farragut High School head basketball coach in the late 1940s and early 1950s, joins his wife, Carolyn, a former FHS girls assistant coach, as they talk to Jack Bondurant, Class of 1957.- Marty McCool/
More than 150 former Farragut High School coaches and players “came back home” to recognize 100 years of Admiral basketball during the FHS 100 Year Anniversary Basketball Celebration Friday in Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.

Austin Fox, a guard from the Class of 1936, was the oldest FHS player recognized.

Fox said “ball-handling” was his biggest asset as a player. As for the Admirals’ success during his playing career, “we won more than half,” he said.

1940s players: Ruby Laughlin Beets, Class of 1949, played with her twin sister Ruth Branson.

Don Graham, Class of 1945, also lettered at UT in basketball and baseball. Don and older brother, Earl Graham, Class of 1943, played for their father, Roy Graham, who coached at FHS from 1925 to 1946.

1950s: Clyde Floyd, Class of 1952, who played both basketball and football, has served as a groundskeeper, “chain gang man,” and historian in connection with the FHS football program for 40 years. Floyd has been honored with the Community Service Award from the Knoxville Hall of Fame.

Others: Judy Sewell, Class of ’58; Linda Laughlin Ford, Class of ’57, and her husband, Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford, Class of ’57.

1960s: Phyllis Luttrell Huskey, Rachel Sewell, Judy McReynolds Lewis and Jean Nevins McReynolds were all part of the 1959-60 Knox County Championship team.

Randy Kelley, Class of 1964, was an All-KIL honoree who led FHS in scoring his senior season.

Ralph Henry, Class of 1963, was also recognized.

1970s: Pete Billingsley, Class of 1972, was an All-state honoree in 1972 who went on to become a college All-American at Carson-Newman.

Neil Clabo, Class of 1971, was an All-state honoree who holds several team records.

Natalie Leach Sisk, Class of 1978, was a three-time All-KIL selection, three-time All-county team choice and four-time All-county tournament honoree who averaged more than 20 points per game. She was the first FHS female player to earn a basketball college scholarship.

1980s: Lora Oakes Dowling, Class of ’89, was a member of an FHS district championship team that went 14–0 in the district. She was a two-time All-district tournament honoree who averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks her senior year.

Rachel Bates, Class of 1989, was a three-time All-KIL team honoree, KIL Sophomore of Year, and six-time Player of the Week selection. Bates was a four-time All-district team choice, and two-time All-district honoree who averaged more than 20 points per game. She was a recipient of the Optimist John Mauer Award for Athletic and Academic Achievement.

Michelle Hardin, Class of 1985, was a two-time All-district tournament honoree and a two-time team MVP who averaged more than 20 points per game.

Mike Carpenter, Class of 1983, earned All-state honors while being ranked among the Top 100 players in the nation who helped lead the Admirals to a 36-1 record and a trip to the state semifinals his senior year. Carpenter went on to play major college basketball at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arkansas.

Chuck Johnson, Class of 1982, was an All-state honoree who also earned All-region and All-district recognition. He played at Carson-Newman and UT.

1990s: Brooke Burnett, Class of 1997, was a two-time All-District 4-AAA guard and All-KIL honoree who averaged 14 points per game as a senior.

Meredith Lance Johnson, Class of 1994, was a four-time All-district honoree who was also named All-district tournament three times. She was also a two-time All-KIL performer who was named Sophomore of the Year. Johnson averaged more than 18 points per game.

Beth Willis, Class of 1990, was a two-time All-state honoree while also earning All-East Tennessee and All-region honors. Willis was a two-time All-KIL choice, a two-time All-district honoree and two-time All-district tournament.

Brent Watts, Class of 1997, earned All-state and All-East Tennessee honors in ’97. Also a two-time All-KIL and All-District 4-AAA honoree, Watts, a guard, helped Coach Donald Dodgen’s first FHS team in 1996-97 compile a 27– 6 record.

Justin Treadwell, Class of 1990, earned All state honors while being named KIL Player of Year and District Player of the Year in 1990. Treadwell, a forward, averaged more than 20 points per game as a senior and scored more than 1,000 career points. Treadwell went on to earn All Ivy League honors as a center at Cornell in 1994, where he averaged 16 points per game as a senior.

David Ball, Class of ’91, is FHS boys’ junior varsity head coach and assistant varsity coach.

2000s: Kevin Yeager, Class of 2000, was an All-KIL wing who averaged 14 points per game his senior season. A track superstar at FHS, Yeager is a UT track student/athlete.

Most “FHS 100 Year” player and coach information detailed in the farragutpress is courtesy of Jerry Gibson, president of the FHS Sixth-Player Club. Gibson wishes to recognize Sixth-Player Club members Kathy Manes, and Sharon and Scott Wilhoite, for their assistance with “FHS 100 Years” activities.

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