I was delighted to read Dorris Ward’s life story in Reflections last week. Very few people in our area could know, or remember, Dorris–but he became the basketball coach at Camp Ground for the school year 1951-52. The school, which is long gone, was located across the road from present-day Camp Ground Baptist Church.
Camp Ground had few male high school students and had some less than mediocre seasons immediately prior to Coach Ward’s arrival.
He took five starters (weak on subs), Earl Babb, who lives at Paris; Jim Bowles, who lives at Pine Valley; Bobby Butts, deceased; Jimmie Jones, deceased (Jones Grocery); and myself, and won 30 out of 38 games. We won the sub-regional state championship tournament, but lost the next round at Senatobia. (We were cheated out of that one, but nobody wants to hear about it now.)
Coach Ward didn’t win because of his knowledge of basketball, he won with us because he was the epitome of a man raised in a large Christian home with a strong work ethic. He imparted that character to us as a team, somehow.
I talked briefly with Earl and Jim about this letter and we are in agreement. Coach Ward was perhaps the finest man we have ever known—no crack in his character, did we ever see!
Coach visited with some of us at a Watermelon Carnival a few years ago.
He made a statement that having that success with us that year changed his whole outlook on life for the positive, that anything was possible if one wanted it badly enough!
Coach, you may have gained a lot but so did all of us who played for you! God put us all together for that one year!
Ward Made Winners Out Of Mediocre Team