The Dawahare clan and MMI lose a pillar

| May 25, 2011

The fabled Dawahare family of Eastern Kentucky has lost another of its pillars: Junior Dawahare (his full name was Serur Frank Dawahare Jr., but he always will be remembered as “Junior” to his closest friends from Pikeville, Hazard, Lexington and just about all parts of Kentucky).

A book could have (and should have) been written about the family. In fact, some of the eight brothers wanted me to write the family history and said that they would send me back to research the family history in “the old country.”

Which old country?

A couple of the eight brothers looked at each other and then one said, “We always say Lebanon, but our father was from Syria. And Syria fought on the side of the Nazis, so we now say Lebanon.”

Smart characters

Some of the brothers were real characters, and all were smart as whips. One election night, Willie called me at The Courier-Journal sports department and said, “Well, I told you I was running for mayor of Hazard. They called me ‘Silly Willie’ for running. Well, Silly Willie won!”

Junior was the first brother I ever saw. It was when both of us were in high school. He played linebacker for Millersburg Military Institute. He wasn’t big enough to be playing football, but he did – until an injury left him with a limp the rest of his life.

The family always supported high school athletics everywhere they owned stores. They were big UK supporters and loved sports.

When I worked for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association after retiring from the C-J, commissioner Tom Mills wanted to start a Hall of Fame. I knew where to go to get the $150,000. A.F., then the president of the company (he was a Harvard graduate), put up the money and we named the organization “The Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.”

There are many strong UK supporters, but I have never known anyone or any organization that have done more – and were bigger fans – than the Dawahares.

The family was extremely generous. No telling how many coaches and needy kids from Pikeville to Hazard to Lexington wore clothes from Dawahares.

ESPN lowdown?

Get ready for a tell-all book about the goings-on at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Tom Shales and Andrew Miller have written “Those guys have all the fun: Inside the World of ESPN.”

When some 6,000 attractive young women and men work (and play) in a pressure cooker atmosphere, some hokey pokey is bound to happen. People already have been fired or suspended for sexual misdeeds. The book is due out this week.

Which Farmer?

A politician with the last name of Farmer running on the Democrat ticket for Commissioner of Agriculture ran away with the primary election. You will never make me believe that a lot of people didn’t see “Farmer” and “Commissioner of Agriculture” and didn’t automatically vote for him because some of them thought they were voting for you know which Farmer.

Joakim no joke

Have you ever seen Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls when he lets his hair down? You’d swear that you are looking at a female. He took a lot of nasty barbs all over the Southeastern Conference when he played for Billy Donovan’s two national championship teams at Florida. Noah didn’t let that bother him, and he still doesn’t. He has proven his ability to more than hold his own in the NBA. He’s so much faster running down the floor and is blessed with much more quickness around the basket. Good shooter too.

Prep explosion?

All of us who love high school sports should hold our breath and pray that what’s about to explode in the mountains isn’t as bad as I hear. Reports are that State Tournament games have been fixed. Yes, the boys’ Sweet Sixteen.

And congratulations to Ben Gish’s Whitesburg Mountain Eagle for digging up – and publishing – enough information to get the KHSAA investigators involved.

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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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