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Saturday, December 23, 2023

Douglass Graduate Dr. Rosemary Gray and son Establish Scholarship at McNeese State


Dr. Rosemary Gray and her son, William S. Bundy II, have donated $10,000 to establish the Janie Vincent Turner Gray Memorial Scholarship through the McNeese State University Foundation. 

The scholarship will be open to freshmen and sophomores majoring in education who are active members of the McNeese Student Government Association and who are committed to promoting inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity.

The scholarship honors Gray’s mother and Bundy’s grandmother. Gray retired from McNeese in 2011 as the vice president for special services and equity.  Bundy is a former teacher at Oak Park Elementary and is third grade department chair and reading and language arts teacher in the Houston area. 

On hand for the presentation are from left, Richard H. Reid, vice president for university advancement and executive vice president for the McNeese Foundation, Bundy, Gray and McNeese President Dr. Philip Williams.

 For information on contributing to the Janie Vincent Turner Gray Memorial Scholarship, contact the McNeese Foundation at 337-475-5588.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Ralph Clinton Watterson remembrance


Ralph Clinton Watterson departed this life on Monday,

December 18, 2023, at Holston Valley Medical Center. He 

was born on May 24, 1936 in Hawkins County.


Ralph was a graduate of Swift High School. As an adult, 

Ralph worked at the Kingsport Press, Human 

Development Agency, and owned Tri-City Development

Construction Company. He enjoyed watching Westerns 

and loved to joke around with his friends and family, 

making them laugh. 


Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Giles and 

Annie Watterson; grandparents, Henry and Sadie 

Watterson; and sister, Roberta "Pat" McClintock. 

To cherish his memory, Ralph leaves behind his special

companion, Lola Campbell; devoted nephews, William 

McClintock and Giles McClintock; niece, Ilesia Anderson; 

and loyal friends, Ed Fanney, CT Lawson, Artie Fanney,

Rawls Bradford, Al Howe, and Varley Hickman.

The visitation will be held on Saturday, December 30, 2023 from 12 to 1 PM 

at the Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver Street, Kingsport. 

The Celebration of Life will be at 1 PM also at the Central Baptist Church. 

Internment will follow at the Brice Cemetery, 306 Cold Spring Road, 

Surgoinsville, TN.

Professional service and care of Mr. Ralph C. Watterson

and family are entrusted to Clark Funeral Chapel and 

Cremation Service, Inc. Kingsport, 423-245-4971.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Commemoration Classic Basketball: Former All-Black Schools Well Represented at Event


Dobyns-Bennett High School (Douglass High School, Kingsport)

Knoxville West High School (Rule High School, Knoxville)

Tennessee High School (Slater High School, Bristol, TN)

Austin-East High School (Austin High School), Knoxville

Virginia High School (Douglass High School, Bristol, VA)

Morristown West High School (Morristown West High School, Morristown)

But first, thanks DiMingo!  Hit the "PLAY" button twice on each of the two videos below, to hear special words of inspiration from two Douglass-DB fans:

The following recaps courtesy the Kingsport Times-News, photos by J.D. Vaughn and a couple by Calvin.



KINGSPORT — Two fast-break layups after the opening tip, and the Knoxville West boys basketball team had already gained the upper hand.

The Rebels never relinquished control in Friday’s nightcap at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center, winning 77-57 over Dobyns-Bennett to begin the Commemoration Classic.

In tribute to the former teams of old, Dobyns-Bennett wore the replica school colors of the former African-American Douglass High School Tigers of Kingsport, while Knoxville West players donned the colors of the former Knoxville Rule High School  .

Three players scored in double figures for West (4-2), which recently added Hunter Dance and Jack Keith after they led the Rebels to another football state championship. Keith hit two 3-pointers in the first half en route to a nine-point night, and Dance made a pair of field goals himself.

The Tribe (5-3) simply couldn’t find an answer for Kevin Jack and Devyn Martin early. Martin made six field goals and scored all 12 of his points in the first half. Jack finished with 17 after his nine-point second quarter, and Maurice Clark added 15.

“We really play as a team,” West coach Aubin Goporo said. “If you don’t share the ball, you’re coming out.”

West had built a 50-32 cushion by halftime, and the Indians couldn’t get closer than 54-41 the rest of the game.

Zayden Hayes led D-B with 17 points, making half of the Indians’ four 3-pointers. A baseline jumper by Charlie McHugh put D-B up 7-4 early before two foul shots by Major Dawson gave the Tribe their final lead at 9-8. Tegan Begley made a 3-pointer and a floater to cut West’s lead to 15-14, but the Rebels never looked back after their ensuing 11-1 run.

Dawson finished with nine points, Begley eight and McHugh seven. But the Indians shot 16-for-38 at the free-throw line.

“It’s not youth, just a mindset,” D-B coach Chris Poore said. “It’s a mindset, a feel-sorry-for-you type attitude we possess as a group. That’s something that has to change. It’s called get up there and get the job done, and we didn’t.

“This game today was lost yesterday, our focus our approach to the game, we didn’t value the details. I did a poor job getting practice ready for our guys and putting them in a situation where we were ready today. I’ll do a better job in the morning, we’ll have a shoot-around. I’ll make sure that tomorrow you’ll see a vivid difference in our basketball team.”

Austin-East 80, Tennessee High 69

Shane Cherry gunned in 35 points to help the Roadrunners (5-3) finally claim the lead in the fourth quarter. His stepback 3 early in the final frame built a 67-62 advantage, and Austin-East remained in control the rest of the game.

Jaxon Young also hit double figures with 13 points. JaKaylon Bogus buried three triples in the second half, matching Juwaan Troutman with nine points.

Colin Brown led the Vikings (4-7) with his 27-point effort, 15 coming in the first half when Tennessee High led 24-19 after the opening frame. The halftime score was tied at 36, but a Braden Howard 3-pointer gave the Vikings a 55-47 lead late in the third.

Howard scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half. Reed Miller hit two first-quarter 3s enroute to his 14-point night.



KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett boys basketball coach Chris Poore could already tell a positive difference during Saturday morning’s shootaround.

Major Dawson showed why. His fast start helped the Indians quickly recover from Friday’s defeat, ending the Commemoration Classic on a high note with Saturday’s 72-50 win over Virginia High at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center.

Dawson scored the first six points of the game and eight of D-B’s first 11. And his 9-of-12 effort from the foul line in the second half helped him finish with a game-high 21 points.

“When he approaches the game like he did today, he’s aggressive, he’s in attack mode, pursuing the ball, he’s a really good player,” Poore said. “I’ve seen tremendous strides from him from last year to this year. He’ll become more consistent.”

Tegan Begley and Jeremiah Jones joined Dawson in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively, for D-B (6-3), which ended a three-game slide. Charlie McHugh made an early 3-pointer before finishing with nine points.

Begley made four field goals, nearly dunking twice, during his nine-point fourth quarter. Jones hit from 3-point range three times between the second and third periods.

“Our strength should be the depth of players that we have, because there’s no one guy that has to play, or that makes or breaks our team,” Poore said. “I’ve seen some growth in (Jones). You can see he’s still green, but he’s giving great effort, and today he made shots.”

Zayden Hayes beat the first-quarter buzzer with a steal and layup for a 15-9 lead, the beginning of his seven-point effort. He and Begley both scored in transition just before the half for a 29-20 advantage. Dawson’s fall-away jumper at the end of the third made it 48-30, and the margin reached 66-40 in the fourth quarter.

Teron Woolen led the Bearcats (4-2) with 19 points, and his third 3-pointer of the first half closed the gap to 18-17. Deonta Mozell scored his 17 points in the second half, making all 10 of his free throws.

Austin-East 80, Morristown West 66

Shane Cherry finally dented the scorebook in the second quarter, and there was no stopping him once he did. Cherry made 11 field goals between the second and third periods, dropping 25 points to lead the Roadrunners (6-3).

Terrance Brown and Juwaan Troutman each fired in 15 points. Each made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help Austin-East pull away after taking a 51-50 lead after the third.

Bricyn Gudger and Juan Gallardo led the shorthanded Trojans (5-3) with 16 points apiece. Gudger knocked down two 3-pointers in the third quarter, after Gallardo’s 11-point first half. Bereket Evans also hit double figures with 12 for Morristown West, which led 14-10 after one quarter and 27-26 at the half.

Knox West 76, Tennessee High 38

Trailing 16-15 after the opening frame, the Rebels (5-2) scored the first 16 points of the second quarter and never looked back.

In fact, West owned the second quarter 26-8 to take a 41-24 halftime lead, which grew to 57-31 prior to the final period.

Garrett Burch knocked down four 3-pointers in the first half, finishing with 14 points. Dane Britton, who made four layups in the first quarter and a triple in the third, contributed 13 to West’s balanced effort. Joe Dupree hit from deep three times for his nine points, with Devyn Martin scoring all eight of his points in the first half. In all, 12 players scored for the winners.

Reed Miller led the Vikings (4-8) with nine points, with Jack Singleton and Braden Howard both scoring seven. Miller and Singleton both hit from 3 in the first quarter, when Howard scored six of his points.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

DB-Douglass "Commemoration Classic" 2023


"It's going to be a lot of fun celebrating the legacies of some pretty good teams."

Forward/Guard Charlie McHugh is the lone senior on Dobyns-Bennett High School's boys basketball team this year.  As a result, he's participated in every commemoration game DB has played to honor Kingsport's former Douglass High School Tigers.  "I like that we keep our histories alive and intact and that we study them closely," he continued.

Douglass, along with the other former African-American high schools in the region closed in 1965-66 as a result of desegregation.  Gone were the storied athletic teams whose exceptional sports valor was legendary in East Tennessee and beyond.

Dobyns-Bennett has apparently found an excellent way to keep the legacy of those teams alive.  DB led the way in the region a few years ago with a simple suggestion... why not dress the basketball team in the colors of the Douglass Tigers at a game?  The opposing team might also wear the colors of the former all-Black school in their own community.  That seed has now blossomed into yearly tribute games with other schools joining the bandwagon to honor their own former basketball teams.  The Commemoration Classic on Friday and Saturday at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport will be a collection of today's competitions with today's athletes, but dressed in uniforms from years past.  Former players, fans and their stories are invited to share their wealth of knowledge to a new generation.

The event is sponsored by Lead Undivided, a program of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

"Wearing the replica uniforms of the former players is our way of paying respects to some great teams of the past," says DB boys head basketball Coach Chris Poore.  "Sometimes it's not just about the uniforms.  Some of their storied basketball legacies get lost in the history of sports in Kingsport and the surrounding area, and we don't want those legacies to fall by the wayside.  Many of the great players and their descendants are still with us today and we hope they can come out to the games and share their stories.  Our young people don't know what they're missing and we want to remind them of that."

That thought was echoed by Mike McMeans, boys head basketball coach at Tennessee High School in Bristol, whose team will represent the former Slater High School Wolves in the upcoming classic.  His teams have also participated in previous commemorations.  "When we did this the past few times dressed in the Slater colors" he says, "it was a treat watching our folks listening to the former Slater players and fans, hearing how proud they were playing basketball with their friends back in the day.  To have that pride in their school is something that stuck with me personally and made an impression with our players for years to come."

"Basketball is almost a universal language," he adds.  "It's one of those backyard sports that brings community kids together.  It's fast-paced, the scoring is big, you can simply get together with your buddies in the neighborhood with just one hoop.  That's what we saw in the former African-American teams from our local communities back in the day."

So who's coming to the Commemoration Classic and which former teams will be represented at Meadowview in Kingsport?  In the first boys game on Friday at 6:30 PM, Tennessee High (representing Slater High) will play Austin-East of Knoxville (representing that city's former all-Black Austin High School).  In the second game that night, Dobyns-Bennett (representing Douglass of Kingsport) will play Knoxville West High School (representing the former Rule High School of Knoxville).  

Saturday has a triple-header on the schedule.  The first game at 12 Noon features Tennessee High (Slater) facing Knoxville West (Rule).  The second game at 1:30 will have Austin-East (Austin) facing off against Morristown West High School (Morristown West).  The last game at 3 PM is the battle of the two Douglass's.  Dobyns-Bennett (Douglass-Kingsport) versus Virginia High School (Douglass-Bristol).  Admission price is $6.00 at the door, both days.

Of course, there were other former African-American schools in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia that because of scheduling conflicts with ongoing games, could not participate in the classic this year, but that could change next year.  Coach Poore says the idea is for more schools representing the former African-American schools in their communities to take part and grow the event.  "The feedback has been extremely positive," he says.  "We're working on it for next year, perhaps changing the time when we're out of school and coordinating when schools have open dates on their schedules, so that we can add more teams to the field."

DB assistant coach James Scales sees an even bigger role for the Commemoration Classic.  "We want it to become a nationally-recognized event, to celebrate the schools of African-American heritage, through basketball.  When they slip on the colors of the former schools, they are reliving history that others may have heard about, but did not know about."

"Our DB boys teams have toured the Douglass Room at V.O. Dobbins and saw the trophies the Tigers won," he says.  "We've talked to former players, we've heard their stories of competition, how they would key on certain players and just outmuscle them in offense and defense.  Our players were in awe of the athleticism.  Story after story, play after play, those rivalries speak volumes to the legacies that need to be passed on to future generations."

"Awareness and celebration.  Both at the same time.  That's what these tribute games are all about," he says.

The Commemoration Classic has already made an impression on one Dobyns-Bennett player who's been there.  Charlie McHugh says he'll always remember his experience with the tribute games.  "I'm glad the younger guys can learn about this type of history and know another side of competition that was just as strong," he says.  "Back then the players at Douglass got the recognition, but they didn't get a lot of love from the greater community."

"The commemoration games are a good start at fixing that.  Get ready for some great competition.  You'll learn as we did about true legacy basketball," he says.

If you go to the Commemoration Classic to see the schools pay respects to the former all-Black teams of old, be sure to wear your Douglass High School memorabilia... show some love for the Tigers!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Spirit of the Douglass Tigers Lives On in the Upcoming Commemoration Classic!


On Friday and Saturday, these are the teams who will be wearing the uniforms of the former African-American schools in their cities:

Dobyns-Bennett High School (Douglass High School, Kingsport)

Tennessee High School (Slater High School, Bristol TN)

Virginia High School (Douglass High School, Bristol, VA)

Austin-East High School (Austin High School, Knoxville)

Morristown West High School (Morristown West High School, Morristown)

Knox West High School (Rule High School, Knoxville)

Tickets are $6.00 at the door at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport.  The Commemoration Classic is growing by leaps and bounds.  Please come out and show your support for the legacies of our Douglass Tigers and the Riverview Community they represent!