Pat Crawford started Ballard academic, sports success

| December 23, 2010

The multi-talented Paul Hornung could do just about anything in sports, especially football. But as well as I have known him, I never knew that he was prescient. That means that he knows what is going to happen before it does.

How else could Kentucky’s only Heisman Trophy winner know to wait until this year to start a new award, the Paul Hornung Trophy, which,  will go to the most versatile player in the nation. All along Paul has insisted that the selection not be made until all of the bowl games have been played.

It is no surprise that UK’s Mr. Everything Randall Cobb would be a leading candidate. But along comes The Associated Press All-America team, the most respected of all the post-season selections, and whose name adorns the first-team list? Randall Cobb!

Right up there with Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Cobb, a junior who is pondering whether to turn pro after this season, was selected for all the reasons Hornung listed for his award.

Officially, The AP calls Cobb “All-Purpose” because he runs, returns kicks, passes and catches everything that comes his way.

Cobb, a 5-foot-11, 186-pounder, has 2,192 all-purpose yards with the Compass Bowl still to go against Pittsburgh in Birmingham Jan. 8

Cobb already is a finalist for Hornung’s award and if The AP hasn’t made it all but official, I will be totally shocked. Stay tuned until the day after the Jan. 10 National Championship game between Auburn and Oregon in Glendale, Ariz.

After The AP award, no one can accuse Hornung of a “homer” choice.

Cobb is 11th Cat

Cobb is just UK’s 11th first-team AP All-American. The list of honored Wildcats:

1942 Clyde Johnson, tackle
1950 Bob Gain, tackle
1950 Babe Parilli, QB
1951 Doug Moseley, center
1952 Steve Meilinger, end
1955 Howard Schnellenberger, end
1957 Lou Michaels, tackle
1977 Art Still, defensive end
1999 James Whelan, tight end
2002 Derek Abney, kick returner
2010 Randall Cobb, all-purpose

Ballard’s history

Ballard started in 1968 with,  grades 7 through 9, and then added a year until it was a four-year high school. Everyone knew that it would replace Waggener as the elite school in Jefferson County.

It took a special person to guide Ballard through its early years and during the turbulence of court-ordered busing.

Richard VanHoose, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, chose Patrick Crawford,,  who had come from southern Ohio to play football for Eastern Kentucky University. Crawford was tough but blessed with a sense of humor that could defuse trouble.

He pretty much could have had any teacher he wanted, and he had some good ones who quickly started turning out accomplished students who could compete on Ivy League campuses and at other elite universities.

Strong athletics

Crawford wanted a strong athletic program. In Kentucky that meant basketball more than anything else. He had to have a man who could build from the ground up.

He asked for advice from two basketball men, Harold Andrews and Bill Olsen, from basketball-mad Indiana. Both were University of Louisville graduates. They both recommended the same young coach, Richard Schmidt.

After winning the 1977 state championship at Ballard, he was hired as head coach at Vanderbilt and eventually retired as coach at the University of Tampa. He used to be in the exotic birds business and now sells animals to zoos.

Ballard has won three State Tournaments, all under different coaches, and reached the 1,000 mark in victories this season. Scott Davenport was runner-up to Bobby Keith’s Clay County team that featured the legendary Richie Farmer in 1987. The next season at Freedom Hall, Allan Houston, the finest player who has ever worn a Ballard uniform, got revenge for coach Davenport. The championship may have been the most exciting of all as Houston and Farmer thrilled fans with fantastic shot-making.

Ballard also won the state championship in 1999 under coach Chris Renner in his first year as coach of the Bruins.

The only other two Ballard head coaches were Don Salyer and Jeff Morrow, who now coaches a nationally-ranked Jeffersontown High.
When Crawford retired, Ballard’s football stadium was named for him.

Another long-serving principal, Sandy Allen, was honored by having the school’s concert hall named for her.

Top Bruins

I asked veteran Ballard basketball watchers to pick an all-time team. Everyone agreed that Allan Houston was the best ever. He played for his dad, Wade Houston, at Tennessee and is still the No. 2 career scorer in Southeastern Conference history. Only Pete Maravich of LSU is ahead of him. Houston had a brilliant NBA career and is on the fast track to becoming a top executive, most likely with the New York Knicks.

Ballard’s best
Allan Houston
Jeff Lamp
DeJuan Wheat
Lee Raker
Jerry Eaves
Don Bostic
Don Jackson
Bob Lindsey
Mark Snider
Mark Bell
Terry Gates
John White
Terry Stewart
Mozell Peterson
Dion Lee
Doug Olsen
Scott Schultz
Chad Guelda
Al Miller

Players from the Chris Renner era will be published later.

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Category: Sports

About the Author (Author Profile)

Earl Cox, Sports Columnist

Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.

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