Monday Memories: Lee Snider takes over for coaching legend Joe Robinson
Shared by former BA Ledger Sports Editors Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn
Over the next several weeks former Broken Arrow Ledger Sports Editors and BA Athletic Hall of Fame members Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn will share personal stories - often in first person narrative - from the days when they covered Broken Arrow sports and wrote about Tiger players and coaches. For nearly 30 consecutive years Wayne and Doug covered Broken Arrow Athletics for the city’s hometown newspapers. Wayne was sports editor for the Scout and Ledger from 1987 until 1998 when he became managing editor. Doug was then named Ledger sport editor and retired in 2015. Wayne, as he explains in this first "memory," also worked for the Ledger in the 1960s. Both men are retired.
I am 77 years old and may get a few names and dates wrong. I am not the historian on Broken Arrow High School football. I'm typing with one finger on my left hand due to my stroke.But we can have some fun with this, and bring back a few memories.
I came to Broken Arrow in early 1966, not long after I got my diploma from OU. C.A. McWilliams (BA Ledger publisher) tried to hire me while I was still in school, but I went with a more glamorous PR job in downtown Tulsa. After a few months in the “big time,” I quit and came to the BA Ledger as advertising manager. The paper had a freelance sports writer, Jim Carley, who covered Tiger football. But I was a sports nut, so I started helping out.
Lee snider had come to BA the year before from Bixby, ending a string of years under H.K. “Buck” Ragsdale and Joe Robinson, who stayed around in administration.
They told me stories where C.A. McWilliams would deliver copies of the ledger and his wife Anne would follow him in a few minutes with bills. I can just see that! But hey put up with my wanting to write sports in addition to being advertising manager. I had been in BA about eight months when football practice had begun in 1966. I had gotten to know the coaches pretty well by then, so I went to our scrimmage at Sallisaw. They had a young quarterback/running back named Steve Davis and well-known coach Perry Lattimore. We had a great trip with a bunch of well-mannered boys.
At that time, BA use to travel to small towns, because that's what we were...less than 10,000, I recall. Phone calls to Tulsa still cost a dime. City hall was a small building just across the street from Dr. Richard Polk and Petrik Drugs. That was one of the places where we gathered to eat, drink and talk city stuff. They talked a lot of football while sipping cups of coffee and sodas. The police and fire departments were in that same brick building. The Polks, father and son, also served as team physicians.
Buck Ragsdale and Joe Robinson had run the football program until then. Lee Snider had come over from Bixby to start a new era here, losing in the state finals to Ada. We started off with a bang in 1966. We were in the Six Lakes conference then: Sand Springs. Miami. Tahlequah. Pryor. We traveled a lot.
The boys, always dressed with gold jackets and black ties, always very classy in looks and behavior. We'd go to restaurants to eat after road games and left good impressions wherever we went. Good image for the city.
Snider had a game plan that always included a trick play the first time we had the ball. That made it fun for the kids...Charlie Wilson was our quarterback and could make things happen in a hurry. Johnny Marshall, whose son later became a great athlete at BAHS, was our big play man. Richard Cannon, who is married still to his high school sweetheart from BA, was our tough guy, running inside and playing defense, too.
Linemen weren't behemoths like they are today, but we did have Kelly Bryson, who starred and went on to TU before returning home to run Black Bears Barbecue restaurant and then go into teaching here. And we had guys like the Raska twins, Larry and Phil, who were tough as nails. Their dad and mom have run Raska Nursery for years on Main Street.
Steve Bruner's mom ran a smoke shop on main and he was an outstanding end. Dennis McIntire, who later became fire chief here, was one of our key players. So was Richard Spradling, who was a running quarterback and halfback. Jim Cherry became one of the fine high school coaches in the area.
One of several members of that team who went on to very successful lives after BAHS, Bruner was asked about that team, “Don't get me going...My fellow classmates and teammates were Charley Wilson, Bill Wilson, Johnnie Marshall, Richard Cannon, Charley Causey, Larry Sweet, Kelly Bryson, Abe Cobb, Kenneth Lovelace, Greg Crawford, Charley Carr, Roger Manasco, the Raska twins, Phil and Larry, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Cherry. I'm sure I've left a couple out. My cousin Rodney Randall was in the junior class but he played with the first string.. Now if you want any stories just let me know. Matter of fact, I went up to Steve Owens at a golf tournament one day to introduce myself and he immediately called a fellow over and told his side of the famous Miama/BA football game. He's a super guy!
“We got in a big fight with Tahlequah when they came to BA (in 1965). Then we kicked their tails 50-7 or something like that when we went there. I remember that game because I caught the best pass I ever caught in my life and it didn't count. Ref said I was out of bounds. I dove out like Twilley used to do and caught it, but couldn't catch myself. so I knocked the wind out of me and didn't have enough breath to argue about it. Plus, Danny, my brother, who was going to school at Northeastern, told his buddy to give someone like 20 points and bet on us and he did. So, the guy was really appreciative of Danny's advice.”
Part 2 Next Monday