Old Cohn High celebrates football heritage on Sunday

Friday, November 20, 2009 at 10:56pm

Long-time friends and stories are sure to be shared when the Cohn High football heritage will be celebrated on Sunday.

Players, friends and family will celebrate the football tradition of the old school at the school gymnasium, still at the same location on 4805 Park Ave., just off Charlotte Avenue.

The campus is currently the Cohn Adult Learning Center. Cohn merged with old Pearl High to become Pearl-Cohn in 1983, ending the existence for the west Nashville school which opened in 1928.

“It’s a chance for a lot of old teammates and friends of the school to get together and honor the heritage and tradition of Cohn football in the 1950s and early 1960s, events that occurred a half-century ago,’’ said Cohn activities co-ordinator Bobby Strickland, a 1961 graduate of Cohn.

Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, with the program beginning at 2:30.

“There will be pictures, uniforms, jackets, scrapbooks and all kinds of memorabilia,’’ he said. “Things that are sure to bring back lots of memories,’’

Of note, Strickland said recognition will be given to the four bowl teams during that era, Cohn teams that participated in the 1957 Exchange Bowl, 1959 Exchange Bowl, the 1961 Jaycee Bowl and 1966 Rebel Bowl.

Also, the three straight championship teams of the old NIL (Nashville Interscholastic League) of 1945, 1946 and 1947 will be recognized.

Cohn had five players who won the prestigious Hume Award:  J.B. Proctor (1945), Don Rucker (twice, 1951, 1952), Kayo Smith (1955), Tommy Wells (1956) and Butch Stinson (1968). Since early October, three former players have passed away — Smith, Thomas Green and Roy Clary. All will be honored.

“We had some truly outstanding players like Wells and Stinson, Maxie Runion, Buck Dozier, Kayo Smith, Danny Burns, so many others, all these guys just stood out,’’ Strickland said.

In the mid-1950s, there were occasional NIL double-headers played at one field. One story Strickland related occurred Sept. 20, 1956. “The first game started at 7:15, and Cohn was playing Ryan at 9:15 (Cohn won 26-0),’’ he said.

“One of our top players, Kenny Ray Davidson, suffered a broken leg, and was sent to the hospital. Hospital people were wondering why he didn’t get to the hospital until about 10:30, and then they were told that the game didn’t start until 9:15,’’ he said.

Strickland, retired, is currently working in the Cohn Adult Learning Center, which is formerly the high school. Through the years, the school had nicknames of Panthers, Tigers and Black Knights.






2 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 11/21/09 at 10:24

Who can forget Hugh Gleason , Cotton Lomax ,Billy Jaynes and Jack Mathews.

By: slzy on 11/21/09 at 11:25

Where may you find a complete list of hume award winners?