Alfred Pence

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 

ALFRED PENCE INTERVIEWED BY PHIL PENDLETON 

Provided by WPBK-FM 

Mr. Pendleton: I’m talking here to Alfred Pence.  First of all, tell me when you…talk about when to when you played football. 

Mr. Pence: I only played football my junior high school, 7th and 8th grade.  And, then I played in the 9th grade.  And, then, after that, I played basketball; varsity basketball. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, then, what year was that…what years were those? 

Mr. Pence: Uh, ’60…I was in high school from 1960 through 1964.  I graduated in 1964. 

Mr. Pendleton: How successful was the football team then? 

Mr. Pence: We went from couldn’t beat anybody as a freshman, to 6 and 3 when we were seniors, and…a good football team. 

Mr. Pendleton: What was the difference?  Why did you go from being so poor to so good? 

Mr. Pence: Well, for one thing, we had more players. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: We almost lost the football, back when I was, I guess, a 7th or 8th grader…there weren’t but a few players that went out.  We didn’t even have enough to have an eleven man team. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm. 

Mr. Pence: But, we had a large class; one of the largest classes that graduated from the old Stanford high school, and so, as we grew up and there were more of us, we had more to choose from, and we had some pretty good athletes; some very good athletes. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, do I understand that while you were going to school there, the program almost folded, is that right? 

Mr. Pence: When I was in junior high, we almost didn’t have a team. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Pence: And, then, as I got into the high school, the football team, with more players and so forth, of course, we had a different coach, but the football team was a pretty good…I think we were 5 and 5 when I was a junior, 6 and 3 when we were seniors, and after that, they even got better, they went to regionals and so forth. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; and then…I mean, in 1969, they won…did they win the state championship in ’69 or did they…. 

Mr. Pence: No, they…I’m not sure how far they got.  See, that was…I was in college…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Right, yeah, uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: I do believe, though, they played in the regional finals, and it was colder than the devil, but I can’t remember. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, yeah. 

Mr. Pence: I was in school in Lexington, at the time. 

Mr. Pendleton: Talk about Harris Coleman. 

Mr. Pence: Well, I would like to tell you more about Harris than…as I understood, Harris was a great athlete, and his brother also.  But, I understood that he went to the University of Virginia and was an all American football player. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Pence: We’ll have to make sure that that’s correct. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah; but, obviously, he was one of the more famous alums, so to speak? 

Mr. Pence: I would think so.  There was several pretty famous alums, I’d think.  But, in the football program, I can’t remember as much about it, as the other programs. 

Mr. Pendleton: Who was your coach for football? 

Mr. Pence: Rodney Walker. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay. 

Mr. Pence: I think he went from here to Vermont.  Denzel Dennis was the assistant coach. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: (laughing); he would come out without pads and run over us. 

Mr. Pendleton: (laughing); what was…. 

Mr. Pence: He was solid steel. 

Mr. Pendleton: What were the uniforms like then? 

Mr. Pence: Well, they were Kentucky blue and white, pretty much; blue and white. 

Mr. Pendleton: Was this like the traditional helmet that you have today? 

Mr. Pence: No, it wasn’t, no (laughing). 

Mr. Pendleton: These weren’t the leather helmets, though, were they? 

Mr. Pence: These weren’t the leather helmets, but they weren’t far from it. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, really? 

Mr. Pence: No. 

Mr. Pendleton: Did they protect your head at all? 

Mr. Pence: Some. 

Mr. Pendleton: One of the things that Scott Smith was telling me was, he thought…he thinks that the leather helmets actually protected the head better than the helmets today. 

Mr. Pence: Well, I remember that when we played, there were more than one helmet that got cracked and split open with a hit. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Pence: So, they weren’t the best. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, did you actually play with Harris Coleman? 

Mr. Pence: Oh, no, Harris is much older than I am.   

Mr. Pendleton: Okay, okay. 

Mr. Pence: Harris would be, oh, two generations above me. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, okay, okay. 

Mr. Pence: He was the same age as my great uncle. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay. 

Mr. Pence: So, Harris played way back. 

Mr. Pendleton: How many players were on the team when you played, do you remember? 

Mr. Pence: Hmm…. 

Mr. Pendleton: About…approximately? 

Mr. Pence: Probably…well, when we started, it seemed like there were 30 or in the twenties to 30, but you know, we’d get hurt, and there was a time in the year when we barely had enough players to finish. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Pence: I remember…my junior or senior…I was not on the team at the time, but due to injuries…. 

Mr. Pendleton: What was it about Stanford, where Stanford was the only school in the county to have a football team? 

Mr. Pence: Yes. 

Mr. Pendleton: Was it because of money, what was the reason? 

Mr. Pence: I really don’t know, but Memorial had basketball, Crab Orchard, basketball, Hustonville, McKinney…but none of them had football programs.  Maybe they couldn’t get a coach, or maybe there wasn’t any interest. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: I don’t know; I really don’t. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, who was like the…I know you had a rivalry with Lancaster…. 

Mr. Pence: Lancaster was our big rivalry, yeah. 

Mr. Pendleton: You played for the little brown jug back then? 

Mr. Pence: The barrel, the jug, yeah, uh huh (yes); we got to take those home my last year in school.  Stanford won both those games. 

Mr. Pendleton: Huh. 

Mr. Pence: Lancaster had beat the dickens out of us…. 

(laughing) 

Mr. Pence: Several years prior to that, but that last year, we brought the beer barrel and the jug both home. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; what about…did you play Danville, play Harrodsburg? 

Mr. Pence: Played Danville and Harrodsburg in basketball.   Uh, we didn’t play Danville in football.  We did play Harrodsburg in football. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: As a matter of fact, I lived with…one of my college roommates was one of the kids on the football team that made a long run against us.  He never let me forget that. 

Mr. Pendleton: That’s really all the questions I was going to ask you.  Any other memories or anything that kind of stands out from those years?  I guess…. 

Mr. Pence: It was…it was…well, yes, I can remember going out during P.E. class and picking pebbles up off the football field and pieces of glass and stuff. 

Mr. Pendleton: Really, that would be dangerous to play on. 

Mr. Pence: The football field wasn’t the field that you have now. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: That’s for sure. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: And, I remember when we had our track program, track was kind of volunteer; anybody wanted to play, played, and they’d put out the stuff and we would…I think Ben Gaines (sic) and I went and got some sawdust and stuff to…you know, we had…I think we had a good time.  It was something I wouldn’t…would never want to forget. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; wow. 

Mr. Pence: Going to a small school…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Pence: And everybody got to do what they wanted to do.  It was nice. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, the thing that amazes me is the fact that, like, you now, you went from a program that almost folded…. 

Mr. Pence: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pendleton: To one that was very successful with Coach Leedy, and now the tradition that Lincoln County has…. 

Mr. Pence: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pendleton: What would it be…. 

Mr. Pence: Right. 

Mr. Pendleton: What would it be…would all that not happened, had the program folded back then. 

Mr. Pence: Right; well, it…you know, I do believe that when I was in the 7th and 8th grade and they really put a lot of pressure on to try to find a coach that the boys would come out for, because, like I said, my class, when we started the 9th grade, there were a lot more of us. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Pence: And, I think we probably turned things around. 

Mr. Pendleton: What position did you play? 

Mr. Pence: I got killed every place I went. 

(laughing) 

Mr. Pence: I was too little, and too young…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Pence: I played, basically, bench. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, really? 

Mr. Pence: Yeah. 

Mr. Pendleton: Bench warmer? 

Mr. Pence: Bench warmer when I was in the 9th grade.  But, still, it was quite an experience.   

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Pence: I remember playing against Coach Leedy, I believe, when he was the coach at Carlisle. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh really. 

Mr. Pence: Yeah. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, he…. 

Mr. Pence: That was my freshman year, I believe. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, he, from what I…from doing some research of my own, he was very successful at Carlisle, wasn’t he? 

Mr. Pence: Yeah, Coach Leedy was a fine, fine coach; a fine person. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah; all right, anything else? 

Mr. Pence: I can’t think of anything.  Maybe I’ll show you something here…. 

Mr. Pendleton: I’ll turn this off…. 

 

END OF INTERVIEW