Head football coach Eric Bishop said community members led a search to find the surviving members of the school’s first football team and invited them to attend Friday’s football game, where they will receive special recognition.
“We’re going to honor the first Adairsville High School football team and their families,” Bishop said. “Some of those players are deceased, and we have invited their families to join us in honoring them at the halftime of this alumni game.”
The coach said that first team was formed in the 1956-57 school year.
The community was able to track the team from a photo in the school’s annual of that year, enabling it to identify every player and then tracking the surviving members.
“The team members were found mostly in the Southeast,” Bishop said.
He added not only were the players identified, but the community was able to locate them, too.
Bishop said the community also located the school’s first homecoming queen, Ovelle Barton, who was Ovelle Phillips as queen.
“We invited her back to honor her as the 1956-57 homecoming queen,” he added.
Bishop said the effort not only provides recognition for the players of that first team but highlights their historic contribution to the community.
“We constantly talk about the Adairsville tradition, a tradition of excellence, that kind of thing,” Bishop said. “A lot of times we say that and forget the history and the men who were responsible for starting it. Little did they know on that day and in that year that this thing would continue for as long as it has.
“I think it will be pretty important for us to honor those men and their families and also at the same time give our fans and our players and just the Adairsville faithful the opportunity to thank them and somewhat get a history lesson out of all that at the same time.”
Bishop said it took a communitywide effort to make the night possible.
“A lot of people have had their hands in trying to make this night happen,” he said, “including our faculty and staff, our office staff and members of the community as well.”
He said the team and homecoming queen will be honored at halftime of Friday’s game.
“We will have a little presentation for them and some light refreshments following halftime,” Bishop said.
He said the team is being recognized by the entire community.
“We are honoring them on behalf of the football team, Adairsville High, the football booster club, faculty and staff and the community of Adairsville,” he added.
Members of the 1956-57 Adairsville High School football team are head coach Mac Bolton and coach Marion Lacey and players Jerry McClure (20), Jack Gulledge (28), Lloyd Lanham (30), Terrell Cantrell (24), Jimmy Sharpe (32), Jackie Gwin (25), Jerry Harris (34), Bobby Lance (27), Charles West (23), Wayne Self (26), Robert Jackson (22), Billy Smith (33), Tommy Sherman (21), Doug Jackson (31), Gary Sutton (35), Richard Elton (37), Charles Chandler (29), and Melvin Edwards (36).