Boude Storey’s 1962 track champs

Whichever event applied, these schoolboy tracksters pushed their bodies to the max.

Unlikely junior high champions grew up to be accomplished adults

Like Mercury, they sped down the cinder-topped lanes with wings on their heels.

Fleeing to the finish line, they sprinted and leaped, in tank tops and shorts and with cleats on their feet, amazing the crowds with their speed and agility. Some flew through the air off the end of a vaulter’s pole, or cleared hurdles, or stretched their muscles to hurl the shot. Whichever event applied, these schoolboy tracksters pushed their bodies to the max.

And most of them didn’t even shave yet.

In spring 1962, a youthful group of maroon and gold-clad youngsters from Oak Cliff captured the Dallas Independent School District’s junior high city track championship. Yes, the boys of Boude Storey took it all!

The track team consisted of eligible eighth- and ninth-graders, boys that understood the goal and what it would take to accomplish it. Their coach, Bill Hitt, pulled no punches: It would be difficult. But the young athletes made the decision to do what was required to be the best.

And it worked.

Not only did they earn the championship, but the boys learned lessons along the way — lessons about respect, courtesy, friendship, teamwork and honor. Lessons they carried with them into adulthood.

After junior high, the team members didn’t all move on together. Some had parents who moved, while the ever-changing school boundary lines caused the separation for others, dispersing the athletes between South Oak Cliff, Adamson and Kimball high schools.

Fast forward to 2010.

On Saturday, Sept. 4, 11 members of the Boude Storey championship team met for a reunion at the Dallas Doubletree Inn — the first time the group had reassembled in almost 50 years. Now in their early 60s, the men aren’t nearly as fleet of foot as when they were young, but the group still looked amazingly like a bunch of ex-athletes, and their coach still appeared proud. Yes, their former leader, Coach Bill Hitt, was there — not only for the reunion, but also for his surprise from the “boys”: a cake and accompanying song to celebrate his 80th birthday.

“To a man, the most influential teacher/coach in their lives, [was] Coach Bill Hitt,” says Gerald Jones, event host and organizer.
Former teammates in attendance were Jones, Lonnie Speck, Jackie Allen, Charles Moses, Dee Fletcher, Jay Kimbrough, Charles Ledbetter, Sammy Maddox, Jerry Peters, Tommy Sorrell and Mike Wall. From California, Jay Philbrick called in to wish Coach Hitt a happy birthday.

In 1965, Maddox won the Texas 4A state championship in high hurdles, while Speck took the same in broad jump and Mike Jenkins in high jump — Maddox for Kimball; Speck and Jenkins for South Oak Cliff (4A, at that time, being the largest division in Texas UIL sports). Also running for Kimball in ‘65, Fletcher and Philbrick had the third fastest time in the nation in the mile relay.

In his May 1965 sports column “Brawn Patrol”, Jim Woodruff of the Dallas Times Herald wrote: “Dallas schoolboys who worked under Coach Bill Hitt at Storey Junior High amassed 40 points in the state track meet this year. That would have been enough to take the team crown had all of them been on the same team.”

After their different graduations, Maddox, Speck, Fletcher and Peters all participated in Dallas Baptist College track, where Speck was third nationally in junior college broad jump. Peters was a junior college all-American and set the national junior college 220-meter record in ’67 and the 400-meter relay record in ’68, then ran two years for Southern Methodist University.

Before transferring to Dallas Baptist his sophomore year, Fletcher, at Howard County (Arkansas) Junior College, was on the 1967 National Junior College Championship Team — running on both the winning sprint and mile relay teams. Jenkins played four years of basketball for Austin College where he was an NAIA All-American. Later he was a player/coach for the 1975 All-Navy National Championship basketball team. Allen played football first for Baylor University, then professionally for the Raiders, Bills and Eagles. Many of the other Storey “boys” went on to successful business, financial and medical careers.

Quite an impressive slew of accomplishments for a small group of middle-class, junior high kids from Oak Cliff.

“Boude Storey was a great,” Peters reminisces, “and Coach Hitt, Coach Donaldson, and Principal C. C. Jamison knew how to teach young men how to grow into great adults. I wish my sons had the same honor of attending Boude Storey that I was allowed to experience.”

Describing how Coach Hitt and the others taught the boys about honor, and how Peters had carried that principle into his own life, he reflects on another lesson he learned in junior high: “Victory and winning have a price,” he continued. “We were taught to pay the price.”


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  • Lonnie Speck

    Gayla, thank you for covering our reunion. It is amazing how time washes away so quickly when you start reminiscing about those days. Storey had some great athletes and coaches during that period that knew how to build some character in a 13 yr old kid. It truly was a special place and time when you can still have those same friends 50 yrs later. Barbara Boerschinger Moffett is the beautiful lady in the slide show. Barbara works tirelessly on SOC’s reunion committee to keep us all connected and lucky me, she was also my 9th grade girlfriend. BTW – Jackie also miss the basketball championship game because he had the flu. I always teased him about not being a big game player.

  • Maurice Eason

    Gayla, thanks so much for keeping the memories alive, not only for us Kimball alums but for all of Oak Cliff students/grads. We didn’t know it then, but those were truly the best days of most of our formative lives, no matter what came after. Unfortunately, generations that have come, or will come after us will never experience fifty years from now the same pride we have for our Oak Cliff heritage.

  • Reed McKay

    Donna is correct in what she said about the sport teams at Buode Storey in ’62. Jackie Allen broke his arm on the Tuesday before the championship against Franklin. Jackie was one of the three starting running backs that year. We were the city champions in basketball that year.

  • denise landell klos

    Always great to stroll down memory lane through your articles. Thanks!

  • Donna Gaffney Libby

    Thanks Gayla. Storey had a great year: we won the South District in football, losing by a touchdown to the North District school. (Don’t remember which one); I think we won the Dr. Pepper Basketball tournament and – maybe – city in Basketball. Besides track the tennis team tied w/Kimbal Jr. High, losing a tie breaker match. We won the Sanger Trophy that year that went to winningest Jr. High.

    Fun year.

    dlibby

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    The photo attached to the column is of Jackie Allen, from the ’64 South Oak Cliff yearbook: THE DEN. The ’62 championship team photo is courtesy of Gerald Jones and the event photos are by Jordan Kokel. I want to personally thank Gerald Jones for organizing the event and for inviting me to attend. Gerald also made sure I found the information I needed to complete the column and helped me make additional contacts. Thanks to fellow Kimball Knights Sammy Maddox, Dee Fletcher, and Jay Philbrick, and to Jerry Peters, Mike Jenkins, and Lonnie Speck for providing further data. This story was a pleasure to write. Such sweet times with great (in most cases) coaches, teachers, and administrators…and all the great Oak Cliff friends.