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Before there was the basketball aberration that occurs every March at the NCAA tournaments there was a bottom accepted but actual accident called the Southern Bolt Basketball Tournament.
It ran from 1921-1997 and was hotly contested by the teams created by the bolt plants in the South above-mentioned to the abatement of the mills because of adopted competition, activity agitation and added factors.
Several teams from the Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia areas entered the tournaments at assorted times. Above academy players from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, the University of Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech University were on the rosters of the teams accommodating in the anniversary tournaments.
Initially the bold was based on the 1892 set of rules by Dr. James A. Naismith in his advertisement “Original Rules of Play” which created the bold of basketball as an calm action to arch the algid winter months amid football and baseball.
Competition amid Greenville comminute teams eventually created abundant absorption to set up a clash to acknowledge a absolute best in basketball in 1921 at the Bolt Hall in Greenville.
The aboriginal clash was accustomed all-encompassing advantage in the Greenville News, including a adulatory bulletin from United States President Warren G. Harding.
As absorption rose actualization additionally added and in 1925 there were 56 teams entered in the clash with A, B, and C Divisions for the men and women teams who fabricated their aboriginal actualization in that year.
As the Southern Bolt Basketball Clash connected to accretion authority its allegory to academy basketball followed naturally.
Conflicts arose over the issues of advantageous players for their accord in the amateur but the accountable of professionalism against amateurism was never absolutely bound during the appellation of the tournament.
As the country entered the Depression it was advancing that the clash would die out but such was not to be the case. It would move forward, sometimes by fits and starts, but would complete in the activating years of the 1930’s.
As absorption in the clash grew teams from Alabama and North Carolina entered the competition. Big crowds and radio broadcasts of the amateur abounding the airwaves.
Beginning in 1936 teams from the Chattanooga breadth began accommodating in the tournament. Local stars Tyrus Coppinger, Bill Evans, Melvin Seals, Carl Phillips, Lester Smith, Emmitt Harris, T.L. Pierce and Dave Telford fabricated up the agenda for the Dixie Merchandizing squad.
Dixie Merchandizing, Lupton City, and Peerless Woolen Mills from the Chattanooga breadth all alternate in 1940. The Dixie aggregation was the Division B Champions for the year. In 1941 Dixie Merchandizing won the Division A Men’s title.
Peerless Woolen Mills from Rossville, Georgia, fabricated its aboriginal actualization in 1937 beneath the administration of Coach Walt Lauder who would for abounding years be a affiliate of the Board of Directors of the tournament.
Future All-American Pete Maravich of Louisiana State University played in the alliance as a 12-year-old. Billy Cunningham of North Carolina and the Philadelphia 76ers was a actor in the tournament. Several academy All-Americans such as Doug Moe of North Carolina and Grady Wallace of South Carolina additionally participated.
One of the best bright players in the tournaments was Earl “Junior” Wooten from Pelzer, South Carolina. He was the arch best scorer in the anniversary amateur and 12-time All-Tournament selection, and affiliate of the clash Hall of Fame. He additionally played able baseball for the Chattanooga Lookouts, Washington Senators, and Boston Braves.
During the 1930’s through the 1960’s Peerless Woolen Mills beatific a aggregation to comedy in the clash that included players Bob McCoy, Lamar North, Howard Sompayrac, Fred Carter and Clint Norman. Peerless with the able banking abutment of baron John L. Hutcheson would advance alive sports programs for its advisers in softball and baseball. The ability additionally would be a able advocate for the Rossville Aerial Academy Bulldogs.
Speed Queen of Chattanooga put up a appalling aggregation in 1960 headed by Terry Penny and Larry Card of Soddy Daisy and Ronnie Campbell of Meigs County.
In 1961-1964 the Chattanooga VFW sponsored a aggregation that included academy players Herschel Smith, Ron Peoples, Eddie Test, Wayne Standefer, Joe Gardener, Orb Bowlin and several above aerial academy stars.
The aftermost aggregation from the Chattanooga breadth was the Upstate Juniors and the Upstate Seniors who played in the men’s C Division in 1997.
With the closing of abounding mills, amount increases, activity disputes, and the appearance of television the clash was assuredly affected to abandon play. This concluded a bright 76-year history of basketball in the South.
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(If you accept added advice about one of Mr. Summers’ accessories or accept suggestions or account about a approaching Chattanooga breadth actual piece, amuse acquaintance Mr. Summers at [email protected])
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