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
DOUG PENDYGRAFT INTERVIEWED BY PHIL PENDLETON
(Provided by WPBK-FM)
Mr. Pendleton: All right, here we go. I’m talking to Doug Pendygraft. Doug, you attended Parksville High School, is that right?
Mr. Pendygraft: That’s right, that was the old school before it became part of Boyle County.
Mr. Pendleton: What year did you graduate?
Mr. Pendygraft: I got out in ’58.
Mr. Pendleton: Who was your coach?
Mr. Pendygraft: Coach was Hillard Combs.
Mr. Pendleton: You first went to Lindsay Wilson and then went to U.K., right?
Mr. Pendygraft: I went to Lindsay Wilson two years, which was great and was fortunate to have Doug Hines as coach and we had a good bunch there, a two year school there at that time, and we went on to play in the National Tournament. And, I guess my claim to fame was that I scored 63 points in one game in the National Tournament and 154 in four, which is still a record today, since 1960, which is okay.
Mr. Pendleton: Basketball?
Mr. Pendygraft: Basketball.
Mr. Pendleton: Yeah, I was going to say 63 points in football would be like a miracle.
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, yeah, (laughing).
Mr. Pendleton: Talk…so, I guess that was probably…was that your fondest memory of playing at Lindsay Wilson?
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, it was, going to the National Tournament two years in a row and then being player of the year and an All American at Lindsay. I’ve maintained close ties with Lindsay. I’ve sent several kids from here in Lincoln County down there to Lindsay to go to school.
Mr. Pendleton: Now, talk about playing at U.K.
Mr. Pendygraft: At U.K.?
Mr. Pendleton: Yeah.
Mr. Pendygraft: I played two years for Coach Rupp, which was difficult. Coach was very demanding and so forth. But, it was a great experience being around there. I think I was fortunate during my time that I got to go down and talk with Coach Ed Diddle at Western and was going to school there and then I changed my mind and went with Coach Rupp there at U.K., which was…which was an experience…you know, it’s an immeasurable experience in the players that you meet and so forth.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow, what was it like playing for Coach Rupp; such a legend; such a figure that everyone seems to know about?
Mr. Pendygraft: Well, he was a no nonsense person. What the thing is when you went over there, what is it…it was just simple stuff, but do it right. You know, he never used a whistle. He’d just walk out on the floor and hold his hand up and everybody stopped. Well, you didn’t laugh. You didn’t grin. You didn’t talk or do any kind of thing on the planes going anywhere. And, you know, you are in the fishbowl type thing, where everybody knows you and sees you and you have to…which is true today, that’s the way it was. But, it was very difficult. He was…that was in his latter years, and things were changing a little bit, and sports were changing a little bit and he was…he was losing a little bit of his edge and so forth. So, it was…it was difficult.
Mr. Pendleton: Anything about him, and obviously he was a tremendous success, that you’ve used in your own career? Did he influence you to coach or to play or to just act in any certain way?
Mr. Pendygraft: Being organized, practices, defensive and he had plays and stuff that he ran for years and years and years. And, just from that standpoint of no nonsense, it’s business, you know, and, I used to…like when I was coaching at Stanford one year, I had a couple of assistants that liked to get up and play ping pong on the stage and I said, look, we can’t do that. And, they just insisted to play, so I just took the table and threw it out there and I said, now you can’t play. So, no nonsense from Coach Rupp.
Mr. Pendleton: What would he do if you showed up late for practice?
Mr. Pendygraft: Oh, well, you just didn’t do that. You know, it’s like what happened to a boy that came to school there with me. He said something back to Coach Rupp. You never said anything to Coach Rupp, back; never. And, that boy disappeared. He was never there anymore. You never seen him. He was gone; boom. You said, where did he go? I don’t know. You just…he was so intimidating. He would call you in and he’d sit there and look at you and he wouldn’t say anything, you know, he’d just look at you and you look at him and then he’d come off the wall with something…say you’re a farmer, huh? Or something like that, you know.
Mr. Pendygraft: But, it was quite an experience. He was a legendary coach and did a lot of great things for sports and helped bring SEC basketball to where it is today….
Mr. Pendleton: Mm.
Mr. Pendygraft: Which, back at that time, I would have to admit, it wasn’t great.
Mr. Pendleton: Mm.
Mr. Pendygraft: We dressed on the stage in Mississippi.
Mr. Pendleton: Really.
Mr. Pendygraft: We played in Mississippi State in little gyms no bigger than a high school gym.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow.
Mr. Pendygraft: And, you know….
Mr. Pendleton: What about playing at Memorial Coliseum?
Mr. Pendygraft: Oh, that was great. That’s the greatest place to play basketball, still today. You know, that was…the room that it had, and the concourses, the playing floor…Memorial Coliseum was just spectacular. Rupp Arena is kind of boxy in there and so forth. The Coliseum was a tremendous place where they played the high school state basketball tournaments and the playing floor and the dressing rooms. I went through there here the other day, just to walk through where…it was simple dressing rooms and so forth, you know, but it was a great place.
Mr. Pendleton: Now, out of college, you went to Crab Orchard High School?
Mr. Pendygraft: First year of coaching in Lincoln County, at Crab Orchard High School. So, I wasn’t really sure. I could have gone down to Charleston with one of the U.K. guys and been an assistant coach, and probably would’ve made it, but I decided to go here and I started here in Lincoln County, and I maintained several years here in Lincoln County.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow; now, our records show that you were with Crab Orchard for four seasons.
Mr. Pendygraft: Four seasons.
Mr. Pendleton: ’62, ’63, ’65, ’66.
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, right.
Mr. Pendleton: What about…what about…you taught at Crab Orchard and coached as well?
Mr. Pendygraft: Right.
Mr. Pendleton: How…what was that like?
Mr. Pendygraft: Well, you had to teach in order to coach. Today they have some situations where they don’t do that. But, I taught science and P.E. and then I coached basketball and baseball.
Mr. Pendleton: What was that…I mean, tell me about your memories of coaching, and the kids you had and….
Mr. Pendygraft: Well, back then, you had Crab Orchard, Hustonville, McKinney and Memorial and later Stanford came in. There was also a black school, Lincoln Memorial…Lincoln Memorial at that time. And, also, all the schools in our forty-fifth district also included Casey County Schools, Liberty, in Casey County, and the Rockcastle County Schools, Mt. Vernon, Livingston and Brodhead. And, I really liked coaching there, as far as the coach…the players and so forth. Some really good kids, and they liked to play and being from U.K., they would listen to you. You could walk on the floor, and what you said, they were very attentive. We maintained that from Coach Rupp, you know; absolute…a little bit apart…not in a friendly basis with the kids all the time, you know, hardly any. I was here and they were there. And, I got that from Coach Rupp, you know. It was completely separate. But, we had some good kids through the years. We had a real outstanding team the last year; we had Todd Boyd, Howard kid, an Asher boy, a Ledford boy and so forth. They were…I think we won around twenty games that year.
Mr. Pendleton: Mm; then you moved to coach at Stanford. You replaced Denzel Dennis for three seasons.
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, Stanford had really grown in strength and so forth. They got…the black school came into Stanford. When they did, that changed the whole makeup of things. They had some outstanding players there at the Lincoln school. And, Stanford was…we had some really good years. We had…in year ’68 in football and basketball, we…I think we were thirteen and oh at Christmas or sixteen and oh, and we had some really good kids. One of our kids is a County Attorney now, Eddie May.
Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes).
Mr. Pendygraft: And, Bobby Folger; and, we had a couple of Brown…boys named Brown, Kurt and Gary Brown, and Gary’s still here. They…we had a great ball club. We beat Danville who later went to state. We played them in the district and I think there was 4,400 people there and they beat us by a few points. That ended a really fantastic season at Stanford.
Mr. Pendleton: Did Stanford play the other county schools?
Mr. Pendygraft: Oh, yeah, all the county schools. They was very competitive. They always wanted to knock you off and beat you. Even though we branched out and played a lot of other schools, too, like Anderson County, and Jack Upchurch was over there and so forth. But, Stanford was a real…a really neat team.
Mr. Pendleton: I know Lancaster was a rivalry game, but was there another county school that was a strong rivalry as well?
Mr. Pendygraft: Well, you had a rivalry with Memorial and Hustonville here in the county, and, I suppose you look at Casey County, when they came along, but…a rivalry with Danville and then Boyle County schools had gone together, so you had those. And, those were…those were big rivalries, yeah.
Mr. Pendleton: You taught at Stanford also? What did you teach?
Mr. Pendygraft: Taught mainly just science. Mainly science I taught, I was teaching biology and general science and so forth.
Mr. Pendleton: Any strong memories of being a teacher or a coach at Stanford?
Mr. Pendygraft: Stanford was just a great atmosphere. We had tremendous teachers and the things we did there, and the football coach…Coach Bill Ed Leedy was our football coach. We had homecomings and parades and all this kind of stuff. It was a good academic school. So, Stanford was just a fabulous, fabulous faculty and so forth.
Mr. Pendleton: Now, you were at Crab Orchard when Lincoln High integrated?
Mr. Pendygraft: Yep.
Mr. Pendleton: Were there any players from Lincoln that went to Crab Orchard?
Mr. Pendygraft: No, no, they….
Mr. Pendleton: All went to Stanford?
Mr. Pendygraft: No, a boy named Nelson Graves went to Hustonville, and he was an outstanding player, and Hustonville was runner-up in the regional tournament that one year, and they probably would have won the region if…Nelson got hurt. He got hurt there toward the end. So, the black athlete, Mastersons and so forth from Lincoln, when they came into the scene, they completely changed complexion…all the players went to McKinney, Hustonville and Stanford.
Mr. Pendleton: Do you remember a game where Lincoln High was treated poorly at the regional tournament at Somerset by the officials?
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, I remember. They…they probably should have won. They should have probably won the region.
Mr. Pendleton: Lincoln should have?
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, they…oh, they were just tremendous. They’re talented players were just unbelievable. And…but, you could’ve might’ve looked at it that way. It was…it was very difficult for them just coming in and so forth and things were a little different. And, I remember people talking about that, that maybe the officiating was a little bit leaning the other way and maybe in the early days, that things weren’t exactly like they should have been. It’s hard to say, but, they were…and I thought, probably, they would win, because they just…just…their talent was just so great. And, they jumped and run and…
Mr. Pendleton: Wow.
Mr. Pendygraft: Would shoot the ball, you know, and just…oh, they were fabulous.
Mr. Pendleton: Were there questions of, I guess, race playing a role in the officiating?
Mr. Pendygraft: Well, let’s hope not, but…
Mr. Pendleton: (laughing)
Mr. Pendygraft: They may have been a…we didn’t look at that, very much at that time. That came later on in the seventies where things got a little bit confusing. But, I would hope not. Like I was coaching, and a lot of fellows like me, they could see how talented they were, and, just, you know, just great people.
Mr. Pendleton: Right; where did you go when you left Stanford?
Mr. Pendygraft: When I left Stanford, I went to Mercer County. Coached a couple of years over at Mercer County; coached, head coach at football, and coached basketball and track. So, I went over there two years. Coach Steve Clevenger was over there from U.K., and I was able to help Steve.
Mr. Pendleton: Mm.
Mr. Pendygraft: Steve was a U.K. Adolf man. He tried to run whatever U.K. ran. And…which, did not necessarily hold true when you are playing zones a lot and different things like that. But Steve was a…he was a good fellow, good coach. So, we had two good years, really good kids in football. It was my first year of head coaching in football.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow; when did you retire?
Mr. Pendygraft: Oh, Lord, retire….
Mr. Pendleton: (Laughing), or have you retired?
Mr. Pendygraft: No.
Mr. Pendleton: (Laughing)
Mr. Pendygraft: No, I manage the home-bound….
Mr. Pendleton: Okay.
Mr. Pendygraft: Program here at Lincoln County; and this is forty-four years.
Mr. Pendleton: Wow, that’s something else. Time flies by, doesn’t it.
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah; Mercer County was a good situation. From there I went to Danville High School and coached there, head baseball and so forth, and then later on, drifted back to here in Lincoln County and helped Coach Upchurch and did…I think during my years, I’ve coached tennis, golf, baseball, football, track…I guess that’s…I guess I didn’t leave out anything.
Mr. Pendleton: One of the things that I’ve noticed about in people that I’ve interviewed, in looking at the history….
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah.
Mr. Pendleton: Of Lincoln County sports, things that happened nationwide, kind of had their place here in this county as well, in this community. I mean, you look at movies like Remember The Titans…
Mr. Pendygraft: Uh huh (yes).
Mr. Pendleton: What have you, and things like you see on a national stage, you could almost say happened here locally as well.
Mr. Pendygraft: Yeah, you couldn’t escape all the stuff that was going on. I remember the seventies, particularly, the things on the national stage, you could see it here. There were some difficult years. I was at Danville High School and also at Stanford there during that time in the seventies, and the seventies was kind of a turmoil type of situation where players and students were being influenced and so forth. And, it took some working through that period of time, which is much better and much improved, but they went through a real rough spell right in there that, you know, you just…you had to be…it was very difficult to handle certain situations.
Mr. Pendleton: Anything else that you would like to add about anything?
Mr. Pendygraft: No, we enjoyed all these years at Lincoln County, and sports have been great and we’ve had some great fellows here through the years. We had Coach Doyle McGuffey out at Memorial, that’s probably one of the best coaches there was around here. And, we had some really good people and it’s been a great…it’s been great for me and I enjoyed it.
Mr. Pendleton: All right; well, let me stop this.
END OF INTERVIEW