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‘Mill-around-mill’ Welch officially honored with ‘Way’

Hop Campbell remembers coach Lendon Welch’s “choice words” on the football practice field at Farragut High School in the early 1960s.

“Like ‘cotton-picker’ and ‘mill-around-mill,’ he would try to figure out who was really wanting to hit out there on the field, and so he’d give the command ‘mill-around-mill,’ that’s when you started hittin’ each other, tacklin,’ blockin’ or something like that,” said Campbell following the dedication ceremony for the former FHS coach in connection with the newly-named Lendon Welch Way linking Kingston Pike and Farragut High School.

Campbell, a fullback/linebacker from 1959-62 and team captain (Class of ’63) was among former players, community leaders and family members on hand for the ceremony prior to the Admirals’ football game versus McMinn County Friday, Sept. 15, at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field.

“Lendon Welch was really a great person,” Campbell added. “He was more than a no-nonsense type, he really built a lot of team spirit in players.”

In addition to assisting coach Clabo for several years in football while also coaching baseball and basketball, Welch’s FHS boys’ track and field teams won 16 championships from 1964 to 1981. Beginning his coaching and teaching career at FHS in the fall of 1959, Welch remained at the school 35 years before retiring in the spring of 1994.

Richard Hobbs, development manager for Horne Properties, Inc. and a former halfback and distance runner under Welch (Class of ’64), said the coach “gave us all something we could be proud of. He taught us discipline, and it’s helped me all my life. Just like a dad.

“It was an honor to play for coach Welch and for Farragut High School.”

Douge Horne, Farragut businessman and owner of farragutpress, said Welch, Clabo and former Admiral boys basketball and baseball coach Lynn E. Sexton “were all the early great leaders of the athletic programs, and they’ve all been honored. And we’re just real thankful about it. It’s fantastic.

“They were the ones that brought most of us kids to adulthood down here,” added Horne, a 1963 FHS graduate. “They did a great job, all three of ’em.”

Welch himself said he was “really honored. I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people that made this possible so I could achieve this tonight.

“I had a lot of good kids to coach, a lot of good backing from people in the community and administrators and students. It’s just a great experience I had here at Farragut High School.”

Welch’s wife, Charlotte, to whom he’s been married since 1952, was among family members on hand that also included the couple’s daughter, LeAnn Mowery, son-in-law Larry Mowery of Ooltewah and their children Tyler, 16, and Tanner, 8.

“I’m very proud for him,” Tanner said about his grandfather.

The Welches’ other child is Mark Welch of St. Louis, Mo. They have five grandchildren in all.

“I’m just glad he got something named after him because he deserved it, and he worked for years,” Charlotte said. “And we always made sacrifices for Farragut because they’re worth it.”

Remembering the couple’s early travels through Farragut in the 1950 when Welch, a U.S. Army veteran, would drive to and from his native home of Jellico to Fort Benning, Ga., “We would come through this place and call it ‘the pretty place,’” Charlotte said. “We never dreamed we would graduate from U-T and find our jobs here.”

And after more than 47 years in Farragut, “We wouldn’t think about living anywhere else,” she said. “It was farm country. Everybody had tobacco fields, corn fields, and just a good place to live. Good, down-to-earth people.”

Though Farragut has experienced significant growth and is no longer considered a farming community, “It still has some of the same people, same families,” Charlotte said. “But at the same time, nothing always stays the same, it always changes.

“But we still like it here because this is home.”


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