Friday, September 17, 2010

Coach Nunley Scholarship Dinner

My daddy and Coach Glenn Nunley

Last night, along with some members of my family, I attended the Glenn Nunley Scholarship dinner at the Depot Roundhouse in downtown Huntsville. The dinner/fundraiser came about as a result of a conversation that some of his former players had. Once the idea was formed, it took off and a committee was formed and they organized the whole event and did a fine job I might add. One of the organizers was my mother. She worked really hard on making sure the evening was a success. The scholarship will benefit an under privileged child so that they can attend Madison Academy. Call me crazy, but I’m willing to bet that the recipient will be a stand-out football player.

Glenn Nunley was my dad’s high school football coach and one of my grandfather’s (Ben-Pa) best friends. Coach Nunley was a standout athlete at Butler High School and earned a scholarship to play quarterback at The University of Georgia. If it weren’t for a knee injury, he may have gone on to play in the NFL; but, it was because of that knee injury that he never played one down at Georgia. He was replaced by Fran Tarkenton – you may have heard of him.

After his years at Georgia, Coach Nunley came back to Huntsville and coached high school football at Butler, Madison Academy and then at Lee. All my life I’ve heard countless renditions of Coach Nunley stories, all of which I love to hear over and over again. As my dad said, “Coach Nunley made football fun.” In fact, Coach Nunley had told Ben-Pa that he was going to coach until it wasn’t fun anymore, and my dad remembers the game when Coach Nunley came over to my granddad at the end of a game and said it would be his last season because it wasn’t fun anymore.

I have known Coach Nunley all my life. As mentioned in earlier posts, my dad started taking me to football games before I could walk. My earliest memories are of going to and being at football games. The games we went to most often when I was a wee lass were the Lee High School games. Coach Nunley was coaching at Lee at the time and Ben-Pa was the “athletic trainer.” I put that in quotes because Ben-Pa never had any formal athletic training education, he just knew how to tape ankles and whip out the smelling salts. I can remember going to and coming from those games and my dad and I would whistle the Lee High fight song, which makes me laugh now because I cannot whistle in the least. Apparently it’s a trait I left in my childhood.

Throughout the night, various speakers and former players told stories about Coach Nunley. Some of the best stories were of the “coaches meetings” at Corman’s. Apparently Coach Nunley, Coach Fletcher, Coach Bennett and others would meet at Corman’s and talk about football, play pranks on folks, among other things. These stories made me smile because Corman’s was another place I frequented with my dad as a small child. I remember the look and smell of Corman’s like it was yesterday. I can picture Corman standing behind the counter too. It makes me wonder if I might have been privy to these top-secret coaches meetings.

My dad told a couple of stories last night and relayed about how once when he was on defense, a guy my dad was defending got a penalty for offensive pass interference – he said that was fun. He said one time they didn’t have a kicker and Coach said, “Parker, go kick off.” So, my dad kicked off and the ball went about 15 yards. Everyone was telling him it was a great on-side kick, but my dad said, it wasn’t supposed to be, he had kicked it as hard as he could – and that was fun.

It was great to hear everyone reminiscing about such a great man and coach.

I have sat with Coach Nunley at many a football game over the years and he always makes me laugh and always has a great story to tell about my dad. Times are so different now, as we all know, and it was nice to see that one man had so much positive influence over so many people. More events are planned in the future to continue raising money for the scholarship fund, but I’m not sure they will be quite as enjoyable as listening to stories about the Nunley days.

Here's a link to Mark McCarter's stroy that was in The Huntsville Times Friday.

There were poster boards of various newspaper clippings throughout the Depot

This is from 1968 - my dad is on the back row #54 - Goose!

My parents are welcoming people as they come in to the Depot.

Here my dad is telling some stories about Coach Nunley.

Coach Bennett was the first speaker - he was in my parents' wedding -
not that that has anything to do with this story. 

Coach Fletcher spoke next and was probably the best of all the speakers.

This is Keith Miller - he played against Coach Nunley in high school and then coached against him.

When you're the photographer, you have to take self-portraits.
I think Justin was mid-sentence here.


Alison said...

Looks like a good time! Nice self-portrait! ;)

Erika said...

Awe; what a fun night! Wish I had a dozen chocolate doughnuts from Corman's bakery right now.

Kimberly Washer said...

My favorite part of this story was..."I can remember going to and coming from those games and my dad and I would whistle the Lee High fight song, which makes me laugh now because I cannot whistle in the least. Apparently it’s a trait I left in my childhood."...That made me laugh really hard!!