Charley's Boys
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Charley's Boys
St. Bernard College in the Sixties
Published:
8/3/2010
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
112
Size:
6x9
ISBN:
978-1-45202-465-3
Print Type:
B/W

I was surprised when a friend told me he wasn't aware that St. Bernard

had ever had a college. After thinking about it for a moment, I

realized it had been almost thirty years since St. Bernard College

closed its doors. That was what motivated me to write a book about my

experience there. I attended St. Bernard College from August 1966

until May 1970. It was a time when St. Bernard College strived with

attendance peeking during those years. Also of significance, various

sports were putting St. Bernard on the map. The 1967-68 basketball

team was outstanding, winning their conference championship in one of

the highest scoring games in conference history. In writing the book,

I mention many other things that went on there, including campus

activities, other sports and the professors, priests and students of

the college. The book emphasizes two primary things: that outstanding

basketball team of 1967-68 of which I was a member, and the influence

Coach Charles Richard had on his athletes, students and the college

itself. You will take a walk down memory lane as you read about what

it was like at St. Bernard College in the late Sixties.

 

We Won the Game and the Fight

 

January, 1968

 

 

We Won the Game and the Fight January, 1968 Before talking about that

special season, I need to mention one of the games. It was mid-January

when we played Jacksonville State at home. They had beaten us just a

week earlier at Jacksonville 83-81 in a hard-fought game. Jacksonville

was loaded, with a very talented team. They were very tall, had

outstanding shooters and were well-coached. We had just come off an

impressive 116-106 win with Huntingdon. Now Jacksonville was coming to

our place, and we were seeking a measure of revenge. The game was one

of the hardest played games I ever witnessed. I didn’t get into the

game, and as rough as it was, I’m not too sure I wanted to. It was a

high-scoring, foul-plagued game that went down to the wire. A few

starters for both teams had fouled out, and a few key reserves were in

the game at the end. We were holding a slim lead with about a minute

left when it happened. Fred Drach and Jacksonville’s center had been

bumping and elbowing each other for most of the second half. It was

very physical, and there was a lot of tension on the court. We

appeared to have things under control when Jacksonville stole the

ball. A pass was made to the Jacksonville center standing wide open

under the goal. Now keep in mind, this was 1968. The understood

philosophy was, if you’re going to foul somebody, foul them good. We

all knew and accepted that. But with tensions as high as they were,

and with Fred being as strong as he was, it wasn’t going to take much

to start a fracas. Fred knocked the dog out of him. And all hell broke

loose. The Jacksonville player came up swinging. Fred wasn’t about to

back down. Those two tied into one another, swinging their fists

wildly. Others stepped in to break it up, while some took the

opportunity to swing at someone on the other team. In less than ten

seconds the court went from a hotly-contested basketball game to an

all-out slugfest. The fans emptied onto the court, with the

Jacksonville fans and the St. Bernard fans breaking into individual

scuffles all over the court. I started out to the floor with the other

players on the bench, but Coach Franey quickly stepped in and yelled

for us to stay back. We all froze. But I wanted a better angle at

viewing the action, so I stepped onto the chair where I had just been

sitting. From my birds-eye perch, I surveyed the scene. What I saw was

amazing! There were a few hundred people on the court, most of whom

were fighting or trying to break up a fight. But the funniest part was

that no one was saying anything! All you could hear were smacks and

slaps and thuds and oofs. To my amazement, I saw a few priests in the

middle of the fracas trying to break it up. Quite a few individuals,

including a couple of other priests, had grabbed chairs and were

swinging away. Wow! It was amazing! I just stood there atop my chair,

absorbing the scene. I caught a glimpse of one of my high school

buddies, now a star football player with Jacksonville State. His face

was covered in blood, he was swinging wildly at anyone not dressed in

red, and he had a crazy grin on his face. Just as things were really

getting interesting, Coach Franey came running up, jerked me off my

chair and screamed, “Get to the locker room!” He then went along the

Don W. Laney attended St. Bernard College from 1966 to 1970. He played

on the basketball team for legendary coach Charles Richard. He

graduated from St. Bernard with a degree in history and English. Don

went on to attain three master's degrees from Alabama A & M. He was a

teacher and coach for thirty-one years, applying many of the skills

and techniques he learned while at St. Bernard. Don also answered the

call to the ministry, pastoring and serving as interim pastor for

numerous churches throughout North Alabama. While still teaching, Don

began writing short stories for a local magazine "Yesterday's

Memories". Some of his stories won awards for their humor and

accuracy, including 'The BB Gun Battle at the Old Outhouse', 'Grandma

Told me to Slug Him' and 'The Day Old Mack Died'. He has also written

another book, 'The Laney Saga', a story about his ancestry. Don is

retired and enjoys jogging, traveling and being with his family. He is

married to Cheri Wray Laney, also a teacher. They have three grown

sons and two grandchildren. Don and Cheri reside in Lacey's Spring,

Alabama.

 

 
 


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