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“Acclaim of Recognition” Remembrance of a National Championship

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“Acclaim of Recognition”
Remembrance of a National Championship

In mid-March of 1969 Paducah's little Junior College, PCC, (now WKCTC) walked away from the National Junior College (JuCo) Tourney in Hutchison, Kansas, with the NATIONAL TITLE. Yes, indeed, that means our little school with less than one thousand students won the acclaim over all the Junior Colleges in this Great Nation.

March of 2014 marks the forty fifth (45th) anniversary of this outstanding accomplishment so the WKCTC Basketball Program will conduct an Acclaim of Recognition of this fete during the half-time of the second game on Saturday, February 15th on campus at Haws Gym. So come early and get a good seat. Three of the team members reside within the distance of a three-pointer from the scoreboard so we expect to have several in attendance.

On display near the concession stand will be that NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY. If you have a camera, please feel free to use it --- you may not have ever seen one of such size. Standing with a 22 inch base and towering 42 inches tall, it’s big. It is BEAUTIFUL !

Also displayed will be an enlarged Team Picture. The players are identified by their jersey numbers. Those identified in the picture are: Claude “Sonny” Haws, Head Coach; Jimmy Don Peck, Asst. Coach; Joe Dempsey, Manager; Jim Johnson (40) of Toledo, OH; Mike Young (20) of Lewis Port, KY; Danny Hicks (42) of Symsonia, KY; Bobby Jones (24) of Frankfort, KY; Billy Boyd (50) of Princeton, KY; Rex Bailey (10) of Glasgow, KY; Haywood Hill (22) of New York, NY; Rick Ragland (34) of Paducah, KY; Tom Yachinich (52) of Bradford, PA; L.H. Tyler (32) of Arlington, KY; Lannie Jones (54) of Brookport, IL; Gary Sundmaker (14) of Metropolis, IL.

This Acclaim of Recognition is a test drive for the big one (the Golden 50th) which will be forthcoming five years from now. That celebration program is expected to be a “knock-out.”

On the heels of this big win the highly respected Coach “Sonny” Haws was named the National JuCo Coach of the Year. Bobby Jones and Rick Ragland were named to the National All-Tournament Team with Jones being honored as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Tournament. Although there was no announcement, or presentation proclaiming the defense accolades, the stats clearly show that Paducah’s own, Rick Ragland, deserved that honor. In being assigned to guard each opponent’s big man he cut their per-game scoring average to a near 50% level.

This team had several close encounters in-route to the title game. Beating Robert Morris College of Pittsburgh, PA 79 to 76 in the Championship Game was the best performance of all the close ones during the tournament run. The INDIANS concluded their season with a 29 & 2 won-loss record.

Known producer-director, Spike Lee, and renowned writer Angelo Pizzo (HOOSERS) could make a great movie about this team's voyage to and through the BIG GAME, rating second to no other sports movie, including "HOOSIERS." But, they would have to give about 99% of the credit to two Journalists who covered that journey. One of these gentlemen penned fabulous stories and stats on a daily basis in The Paducah Sun Democrat. This Writer-Extra-Elate' was none other than Mr. Glenn Cochrum. Mr. Roscoe Keeling was the Official Scorekeeper for the team and he kept Mr. Cochrum's continuous attention. The other Gentleman who kept our eyes and ears focused on the TV Screen by giving us a daily synopsis of the performances was my dear friend and the outstanding Sportscaster for WPSD TV Ch. 6, Mr. Bob Swisher.

While reading this article and you happen to recall one or more of these individuals and know how to contact them or a family member please feel free to inform them of this special event. Census data indicate that one will likely move four to six times in a lifetime so contacting each and everyone and making them aware of this event is highly impractical. Your help is appreciated. The published phone number for West Kentucky Community & Technical College is 270-554-9200. Head Basketball Coach is Dan Potts. He can be reached at 270-534-3223 or cell # (859) 583-1289.

If you are a family member of this great group of people (Coach, Mgr., Player, Cheerleader, Scorekeeper, Media, etc.) who put Paducah on the Basketball Map of America you are an invited guest for this occasion. You are asked to register at the Haws Gym entrance and attach an identity label to your garments. You are slated to be recognized at the half-time of the second game. The first game starts at 5 PM so you need to be present and registered by 6 PM in order to fine tune the program.

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