Show their gold: Lion assistants proud of baseball title
Posted: Friday, December 2, 2011 6:29 am
While admittedly enjoying every minute of Dresden’s wild ride to the Class 2A state football championship game, this is not the first rodeo for Scott Killebrew and Tim Evans.
The two Lion assistant coaches — DHS alumni and lifelong friends — were teammates on the 1987 Dresden baseball team that won the school’s only other state title.
And both say they’ve offered subtle reminders of that glorious season to this year’s Lion football squad in hopes of motivating them to bring home the gold from Saturday’s BlueCross Bowl matchup against Friendship Christian School.
“Yeah, I’ve worn my (championship) ring a time or two and showed it to the kids,” laughed Killebrew. “I’ve told them I have room on my other hand for another one.”
Evans, who was a junior 24 years ago and a pitcher/shortstop on the Dresden baseball team that beat University High of Johnson City for the Class 1A title, also confessed to showing off his ware from that dream season.
“I bring it out on special occasions, and it certainly doesn’t get any more special than this week,” he said. “I can’t get it on my finger any more because my hands and fingers are so much bigger now, so I just wear it around my neck or something.
“I’m sure I’ll have it with me somewhere on Saturday.”
The two aides, who perform their duties from the pressbox and communicate with coodinators Keith (offense) and Chad Hodge (defense) via headphones on Friday nights, both say there are similarities with this year’s football squad and the ’87 Black and Gold championship baseball team.
“I think we’ve recaptured a lot of that community support that we had back in the late ’80s,” said Killebrew, wh is Dresden’s head baseball coach and has been a teacher at the school since 1997. “We were in the middle of a good sports run back then. Our football team had made the quarterfinals, our basketball team got to the state tournament, and everybody in town was excited about that success.
“It’s become that way now, too. You could really see it building the last few weeks in the playoffs. I don’t go anywhere now where people don’t say: ‘What about Friendship Christian?’ People are painting their faces, and they’re putting updates on Facebook and really showing great pride. It’s fantastic to have that type of interest in our program and our kids.”
Evans, who returned to his roots five years ago after a teaching/coaching stops at Union City and Bradford, also assists in basketball and baseball.
He believes it’s important the Dresden football team understands what a special time this is and will forever be in their lives.
“I want kids to understand this doesn’t happen very often — especially in towns and communities our size,” Evans said. “It’s something that will not only be a part of their legacy, but will also be among the best memories of their lives.
“Some of the kids who know about coach Killebrew and I playing on the baseball team that won the ’87 championship have come up to me and asked, ‘What was it like this back then?’ and asking about the excitement and everything that’s going on around them. They’ll laugh a little about the picture that’s up in the school and how we looked back then, but they really want to know about what we experienced, how we felt and if it was similar.”
Both men have vivid recall of the celebration of that historic first Dresden High School championship at Greer Stadium in Nashville, Evans reliving a memory of the “dogpile” revelry afterward.
“I remember our coach, Jeff Kelly, who’s now our assistant superintendent, saying before the game that he couldn’t wait to see what it would feel like to jump on that pile after we won,” Evans recalled. “Then, he said when it happened, he jumped and there was nobody there. I remember jumping in that pile, though. And I remember him being there.
“It was almost an indescribable feeling. But anybody who’s been lucky enough to be a part of something like that will never forget it.”
While conceding he had a secondary role on the baseball championship team as a sophomore reserve third baseman and backup catcher, Killebrew said a second such experience would be even more special.
“I was just along for the ride back then,” he smiled, while also disclosing he sometimes tugs on his snug state championship baseball jersey from long ago as a motivation ploy to his current players. “Tim was more of a contributor to that team because he was a year older, but I did get to play quite a bit as a reserve because we were so good that a lot of people got in the games. That I didn’t start didn’t make our team accomplishment any less significant to me.
“I’m older now and, obviously, at a different point in my life. As a coach, I feel like I have a bigger role and certainly a different one with this football team and our program overall. No question, we could win without me. It’s up to the players. They’ve worked hard to put themselves in this position. But I do hope to be a part in our success if we win on Saturday.”
One can never have too much gold. Published in The WCP 12.1.11