Calvin Denham

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 INTERVIEW 

CALVIN DENHAM INTERVIEWED BY PHIL PENDLETON 

(provided by WPBK-FM Radio)

Mr. Pendleton: All right, I’m talking to Calvin Denham.  Calvin, first of all, tell me when you played…what years did you play for Stanford High School? 

Mr. Denham: I’m pretty sure I started in ’59.  I was an 8th grader; 125 pound weakling,  you might say.  ’59 through 1962.  I didn’t play my senior year, but I played through my junior year. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow.  And what coaches did you play for? 

Mr. Denham: I played for Glen Polley, Farley, Jim Farley, and I can’t think of the other gentleman’s name. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay; talk about the state of the program during the years that you were playing there. 

Mr. Denham: Oh, gosh, we were a weak team, you might say, throughout; never had a winning season for, gosh, til about four or five years after I graduated.  We would play some of the larger schools, like Bardstown.  I remember one time, we came out on the field, and there was probably 13 or 14 of us and we looked up and here come Bardstown out, and of course, they was one of the state football teams at that time, very popular, and they kept coming out of the locker room.  I think they had somewhere around forty-five or fifty players on the team.  It was just amazing to see those big guys.  They were all state that year.  Had two all state full backs and quarter back, and it was amazing how they could play. 

Mr. Pendleton: Do you know why the school had such low numbers at the time?  No people to pull from or not a lot of interest, or…. 

Mr. Denham: I think both; interest was lacking there, as far as some of the guys  wanting to come out and play, and I think the majority of it was just not enough individuals.  We were considered just the Stanford area, so when you are trying to pull from just the Stanford area and not the county, it made a big difference for the school.  And, it was hard to pull guys out of some of these other upper classes that didn’t want to play that did eventually come out and play. 

Mr. Pendleton: Did you all win many games? 

Mr. Denham: Not really.   

(laughing) 

Mr. Denham: If you go back and look at the old yearbooks, why…time…during the time I played, we didn’t win a whole lot of games, no.  I think in about ’65, ’66, in that time period, they started winning more games.  Different coaches came in, and, of course, they got…I won’t say better players, but they had more players.   

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Denham: At one time, we were struggling, even, to have a football program for…they were getting ready to say, hey, we’ll do away with football.  They was only about seven or eight of us came out that year.  And, they had to think really hard about continuing the program, and finally some of the guys came out just to play so we could keep a football program going. 

Mr. Pendleton: There was talk of abandoning the program.  What was the turnaround?  What…why didn’t they do that?  What happened to keep the program going? 

Mr. Denham: Well, I think that the guys that were out there playing started talking to some other guys that needed to be out there playing.  We told them we needed them.  I…if we didn’t get them, we were going to not have a football program at Stanford High School anymore, and I think, more or less, the pride factor came in, that we did not want to lost the football program, even though we may have a losing season at that time. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Denham: Stanford pride, more or less, came into fact, and our coaches recruited really hard during that time period.  I know Mr. Horne was one assistant coach, and he would go up and hit on a big guy and say, hey, you need to be out here on the football field.  You need to help us out, keep this program going, and it worked. 

Mr. Pendleton: Do you remember any real memorable games, specifically, that you had; contests?  I know the rivalry with Lancaster was always a big deal, you know. 

Mr. Denham: Well, when you speak of Lancaster, they were a big rivalry, and we always fought over a…I think it was a jug or something or other that was passed back and forth. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Denham: We very seldom every got to keep that jug.  Maybe in basketball, but not in football.   Some of the other games…I guess the one that stuck out in my mind was the Bardstown game, that one year we played them, when they had the all-state full backs and quarterbacks.  They were awesome; especially when you’ve got about thirteen players on the field from Stanford and then about 45 or 50 come out on the field from Bardstown to that.  It’s sort of a little demeaning to you, and you wonder, well, why are we here. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes); looking back, though, knowing, and I know the years that you played there wasn’t a lot of success, but then right after that, the team did have a lot of success…. 

Mr. Denham: Yes, they did. 

Mr. Pendleton: Does it give you some pride knowing that you had…you were a part of something that became something more? 

Mr. Denham: Definitely; if you look back over the years and you see where the football program was, how it was struggling to be able to continue through the school, latter years, you had some good football players that came along, we had some good quarterbacks.  Don Woolridge was one.  We had some good seasons under Don, and the guys that I played with were like Glenn Hester, we called him Bongo, Tommy Mosier, several of those…Paul Napier, Kenneth Napier…they were some pretty good…hefty guys, but we just didn’t have the caliber of football players that we needed to, you know, be in contention with any of the other teams around here.  But, Lancaster, we fought hard against them.  And, I guess one of the other teams in this area that we played would be KSD. 

Mr. Pendleton: Really. 

Mr. Denham: Yeah, and when you played KSD, you knew you played KSD.  They were a tough team.  They never knew when not to quit.  Of course, you’ve got…when you are playing with them, the only time they got off a pile, is when somebody would grab them and pull them off the pile. 

(laughter) 

Mr. Pendleton: You played before the integration of Lincoln High School, right?   

Mr. Denham: Yes. 

Mr. Pendleton: Did you all ever play them? 

Mr. Denham: Football? 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Denham: Integration? 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Denham: No; they had no football program. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, they didn’t have a football program. 

Mr. Denham: No, the only thing they had was a basketball program…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, I see; okay. 

Mr. Denham: And, lots of times they would use our gymnasium to practice basketball. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah; despite the fact that you didn’t have a lot of success, what about the fan support?  Was it still there? 

Mr. Denham: Oh, sure; oh, yeah; you always got that pride, you know, for your school, when you want to see the school and the team succeed, and they were there, always, in support of you, regardless of the outcome, and they were backed…backing you, and behind you all the time.  You know, we may not have had the best team or a winning season, but I think all in all, over the years, we can look back and say, hey, we had a good time, we enjoyed it and hopefully, what continued from our time there, the program got better.  And, it did; it continued to grow and get better.  And, even when it got up under my…Coach Leedy, when he came…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Denham: We went to…that team went to regionals that year, and he did a good job. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; what position did you play? 

Mr. Denham: Oh, gosh…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Everything? 

Mr. Denham: Wherever they needed you; wherever they needed you…. 

(laughter) 

Mr. Denham: Primarily half-back, quarterback, defensive half-back, so, just wherever they needed you.  If someone got hurt, you had to go in, whether it be guard or tackle or whatever.  It just…you take a 129 pound guy, he don’t play too many places, but when he does, he…I try to do my best, and…and I enjoyed it.  I had a good time. 

Mr. Pendleton: That’s really all I was going to ask you.  Anything else you want to add or say? 

Mr. Denham: Not really.  Some of the guys that I can remember playing were Jerry Pyle, Tom Mosier, I said, Doug Glen Hester, Don Woolridge, gosh, Kenneth Napier, Bill Napier; memory is lacking right now…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Denham: We had a good sized team, but we just didn’t have the, I don’t know, durability…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Denham: Motivation…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Denham: Coaches…we had some good coaches. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Denham: You take Jim Farley, (Glenn) Pauley, Mr. (Dick) Horn, who was an assistant coach, they were all good men, and they worked hard to keep the program going. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah; all right, great.  That’ll work.  That’s nine minutes and twenty-two seconds…. 

END OF INTERVIEW

 

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