Bill Ed Leedy

This collection began with the Kentucky Oral History Commission’s effort to establish oral history programs in each of the state’s 120 counties. County libraries worked with local volunteers to collect interviews. Since 1987, county oral histories have been generated primarily by recipients of technical assistance grants from the commission that provide training and equipment to volunteer interviewers. Interviews donated by independent researchers are also included. Original collection held at Kentucky Oral History Commission/Kentucky Historical Society.  Access copies available at Lincoln County Public Library. Authorization must by granted by KHS to use or publish by any means the archival material to which the Society holds copyright. 

LINCOLN COUNTY ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS 

BILL ED LEEDY INTERVIEWED BY PHIL PENDLETON 

June 5, 2013

 

Mr. Pendleton:….While talking with Bill Ed Leedy, and I guess the first question is, what are your…some of your earliest memories of football at Stanford? 

Mr. Leedy: Well, of course, I played there, when I was in high school.  That was in the forties.  Mr. Joe T. Embry was the coach there.  And, not only was he our coach in every sport, but he was superintendent, acting principal, taught two classes, and coached every sport.  And, we had a world of respect for Mr. Embry.  He was a great person.  Did a good job coaching; made it enjoyable.  Of course, we weren’t a big school, so we didn’t have that many numbers, but he was all…got a lot hours with the boys, and everybody enjoyed it. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow, did you play in the time they had the leather helmets and things like that? 

Mr. Leedy: Oh, well, I was accused of being old enough that I could fold my helmet and put it in my hip pocket. 

Mr. Pendleton:(laughs) 

Mr. Leedy: But one of our teachers then, Mr. David Elliott, he always acted like he was younger than I was, but he was older.  And I said, now, David, I’m not as old as you are.  Now when you probably played, why, maybe they did wear the leather helmets.  But on the helmets, we didn’t have the face mask and all; it was just leather helmets. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, did Stanford have a team each year during World War II? 

Mr. Leedy: Uh, yes, uh, yeah, we had…some of our boys left to go to service…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: Uh, I almost did.  They tried to get me to go with them, but I didn’t.  I could have gone in at the latter part of the World War II. 

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: But I stayed, and we still competed and had a lot of fun in the sports program. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, when you were at Carlisle…you were Carlisle’s coach, right? 

Mr. Leedy: Right. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, did you enjoy playing against Stanford, then? 

Mr. Leedy: Oh, yeah, we had a great relationship with one another.  And I might say this; Mr. Embry, being my coach here at Stanford, previously coached at Carlisle.   

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: In fact, his first wife was a lady from Carlisle, and they’d always ask me how’s Joe T. doing, how’s Joe T. doing, the people there….  Yes, and we were small….  Actually, we were a little smaller than Stanford, but we played the six or seven year period that I was there.  We played Carlisle every year.  And, on our part, we were very fortunate. We won every game, but the last game. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Leedy: So…but we had a good relationship with Stanford while I was at Carlisle. 

Mr. Pendleton: Mm…uh…. 

Mr. Leedy: And I might mention this right off the bat here.  One of the boys that I had in Carlisle in ’58…graduated in ’58, about ten of them from Carlisle, came over and had lunch with me the other day. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, yeah? 

Mr. Leedy: Drove all the way over. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Leedy: And one of the boys, well, two of the boys that played on that…for that team, that was my first year there, came….They were part of the party.  So, I…I had a great time at Carlisle.  Great place to live and coach, and being that small, the boys had to…they had to do a lot of extra.  Not only did they play one sport, we…our final year at Carlisle, and I mention this to show how the boys and the people supported the schools, we had 77 students in high school.  That’s four grades. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Leedy: So the other coach and myself decided something has to be done.  So we met with the superintendent, who I previously started out coaching with at Harrodsburg, and he went back to Carlisle….He had coached there previously; he went back to Carlisle and asked me to go with him as head coach.  So that’s how I wound up at Carlisle.  And, anyhow, with 77 students, we had…46 of them were girls…or forty something. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: And 36 boys…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: So we got to work, and we wound up, we had 26 boys on the football team.  And we weren’t strong, but we competed with other teams.  The boys took a lot of pride in their work and play.  So it was an enjoyable experience. 

Mr. Pendleton: And I was reading in one of the old magazines with the High School Athletic Association that they honored you with something at one point.  They said you took a team that didn’t win a game, to be very competitive. 

Mr. Leedy: Well, yes, we did.  We had one, we won every game, but the last game. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Leedy: And flu hit us.  Of course, Mt. Sterling was a good football school too, and flu hit us, and we wound up with about 17 boys in for that game.  So we lost our last game. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh. 

Mr. Leedy: The boys took a lot of pride in a game. 

Mr. Pendleton: Well, do you remember much about Stanford having trouble in the fifties fielding a team? 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah, they almost dropped football. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: That happened when I was at Harrodsburg as an assistant.  But with support from the fans here, and I might mention Coach Blanton Collier came over and talked to the people, and they kept going and got back up on their feet and competed. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; uh, what about a…I’m going to mention a few coaches here; Clarence Ellison.  Do you remember much about him? 

Mr. Leedy: Yes, I played a lot of baseball with him.  Of course, he was older than I was.  He played previously and was a good baseball…baseball player.  I’m not sure whether he played any football or not.  In fact, I don’t even know where he went to school. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: He lived out at the end…in the lower end of Lincoln County.  But, yes, I knew Clarence Ellison. 

Mr. Pendleton: And Hugh Davis Noe, was he the one that went by Moco? 

Mr. Leedy: Moco Noe. 

Mr. Pendleton:(laughs) 

Mr. Leedy: Great athlete; he coached previously to Mr. Embry.  And was a great football player at Centre College after he got out of Stanford. 

Mr. Pendleton: And I understand he was a coach that…coached the basketball team too, is that right? 

Mr. Leedy: Right. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah; what about T.J. Norris? 

Mr. Leedy: T.J. Norris; he came in after I graduated from Stanford, and before I went to Harrodsburg.  In fact, I was at Eastern, going to school.  He asked myself and two or three other boys that had played previously, if we’d help him in his first year here.  So, we jumped in and helped Mr. Norris in football in his early practices.  And later, I played for him…I mean coached for him at Harrodsburg, as an assistant.   

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: So my wife and myself both taught at Harrodsburg.  That was my first teaching experience. 

Mr. Pendleton: And Denzel Ramsey. 

Mr. Leedy: Denzel Ramsey was here also as a principal and coach.  Knew him well; highly respected person, both he and T.J. Norris were. 

Mr. Pendleton: Jim Farley? 

Mr. Leedy: Jim Farley coached here in the late forties, or… 

Mr. Pendleton: It says nineteen fifty…. 

Mr. Leedy: Early fifties. 

Mr. Pendleton:’58-’59. 

Mr. Leedy: Oh, was it fifty… 

Mr. Pendleton: That’s what it says here.  I…I…. 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah, Jim…well, let’s see, yeah, that would be right.  I was wrong.  Yeah, Jim played…I mean coached here…coached football…now, I don’t think he coached basketball.  He was a great…former great athlete at Danville High School. 

Mr. Pendleton: Glenn Pauley? 

Mr. Leedy: Glenn Pauley, I knew him and played against him one year; or one or two years, before he went back to his hometown. 

Mr. Pendleton: And Rodney Walker. 

Mr. Leedy: Rodney…I followed Rodney at Stanford High School.  At this time, or at that time, I was…I left Carlisle, the last year, and the principal at Henry County kept calling and said we’re going to start football next year, would like for you to come up and be with us.  So, I was at Henry County for three years.  And then, this is when I came back to Stanford to coach.  Mr. Ben uh…ran the furniture store here in town…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Ben Gaines? 

Mr. Leedy: Ben Gaines was on the Board, and he gave me a call and said, our coach is leaving.  He said, why don’t you come back home?   

Mr. Pendleton: Huh. 

Mr. Leedy: So, that’s how I wound back up at Stanford. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow, that’s interesting.  Do you remember anything about a 1910, a team here in Lincoln County or Stanford that won a state championship? 

Mr. Leedy: No, that…no, I don’t remember that. 

Mr. Pendleton: There’s some rumors about that. 

Mr. Leedy: They had some good teams back then. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: I also think they wasn’t a real good strict law on age. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, yeah? 

Mr. Leedy: And some of them may have played, you know, more than their high school…or after high school. 

Mr. Pendleton: Interesting.  Where I was talking to Alfred Pence just a little while ago about Harris Coleman, and he said something about Harris was…went on to play for the University of Virginia.  Is that…is that…is that accurate? 

Mr. Leedy: I’m not sure on that, Phil. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay. 

Mr. Leedy: I don’t remember that. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay; do you know…did you ever hear of Professor J.W. Ireland who the coach of the 19… 

Mr. Leedy:10… 

Mr. Pendleton:10 team; yeah? 

Mr. Leedy: No, I’m sorry, I don’t know. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay; what about football at the Lincoln High School, the colored school, the black school?  Do you remember much about that? 

Mr. Leedy: Yes, a lot of my friends, you know, my age…same age group…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah, we were good friends, but we didn’t…that was before they integrated. 

Mr. Pendleton: Right, and…. 

Mr. Leedy: So…,but they had their individual team, yeah, and had some good teams. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes); do you know of any other school that had football besides Stanford and Lincoln County? 

Mr. Leedy: Uh, no. 

Mr. Pendleton: No one else did? 

Mr. Leedy: No one else did. 

Mr. Pendleton: That’s kind of what we figured out. 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah, we were the only school in the county. 

Mr. Pendleton: Do you remember anything about the 1969 playoff game against Bardstown that was played… 

Mr. Leedy: Oh, yeah. 

Mr. Pendleton: At Garrard High School. 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah. 

Mr. Pendleton: Let’s talk about that. 

Mr. Leedy: Yeah, we were uh…we had won ten…how many…nine or ten ballgames and tied for one.   

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Leedy: And, so, we played Bardstown in the District at Garrard County, and we sort of fumbled our way out of it.  We had a good ball club, but Bardstown was coached by…Dennis Martin…no, not Dennis, uh, Garris (sic) Martin, who was an outstanding coach, and Garrard County was a good enough neighbor to offer us their field to play on…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: They had better parking facilities and what-have-you, and we didn’t have to give them a thing.  They just…out of their good neighbor…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Mm. 

Mr. Leedy: Friendship, they said, you can use our field if you wish.  So, we used that field, and it was 14 degrees…. 

(interview ends abruptly) 

END OF INTERVIEW

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