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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Nobody asked me but ...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nobody asked me but...what if the Southeast Missouri area had a Mt. Rushmore of area coaches.

Instead of famous presidents on a mountain side in South Dakota, we put area coaches on a mountain.

The first head on the mount is Bill Sapp. From 1952-1968, Sapp coached the powerhouse Sikeston program and had an outstanding record of 139-24-9. In 17 years at the helm of the Bulldogs, Sapp had five teams go undefeated and nine of his squads had only one loss.

Sapp did coach one year at Chaffee in 1947 going 4-3-2 before taking his services to Kennett for four years, putting together four straight winning seasons, going 25-13-2.

Sapp took over a hot program at Sikeston thanks to the leadership of head coach Kenneth Knox. In four short seasons at Sikeston, Knox won 35 games without a defeat and had two ties from 1948-1951. From the ground work laid by Knox, Sapp led Sikeston into the state record books.

Here's a stat for you. In 22 years of coaching, Sapp never had a losing season.

We are going to stay at Sikeston and induct Charlie Vickery on the mountain. From 1978-2003, Vickery restored the Bulldog program back to a playoff contender. In 26 years, Vickery went 156-104 and had seven teams make the playoffs and nine teams win the conference title.

During the tenure of Vickery, Sikeston competed at the highest level in the state playoff system and constantly had to compete against the largest St. Louis schools.

In 1988 and 1991, the Bulldogs had top level teams only to lose heartbreakers to St. Louis powerhouse Mehlville. Some would contend if those two teams had played in Class 4A, Sikeston would have two state titles in their trophy case.

During the Vickery era, Sikeston football, at least from the years of 1978

-1995, was the premier program in Southeast Missouri.

Currently, Vickery is the head coach at Chaffee and is trying to restore his alma mater to respectability.

The third head coach is Jackson's Carl Gross who took over the reins in 1989 for legendary coach Paul Webber. Gross is still the head coach at Jackson and has a record of 118-64.

Gross has eight district titles and led Jackson to second place finishes in Class 4A in 1994 and 1995.

In 2001, Jackson competing in Class 5A, lost in the semifinals to Hazelwood East to finish with a 12-1 record.

After exhaustive research (okay, I ran out of darts), the fourth and final coach on the Mt. Rushmore of area coaches is Will Wilthong who coached at Scott City from 1967-1994. In 28 years, Wilthong led the Rams to five district titles and had back-to-back undefeated teams in 1972 and 1973.

Wilthong finished with a record of 166-98 and is the winningest coach in Scott City history.

Others who receive serious consideration:

* Vic Reaves - Portageville (1948-1960)

* Jim McKay - Portageville (1967-1988, 2001-2003)

* Lloyd Bloch - Caruthersville (1977-1990)

* Herb Marshall - Charleston (1926-1946)

* Paul Webber - Jackson (1969-1988)

Next week, the Mt. Rushmore of area basketball coaches.

* Blake DeWitt has been tearing it up lately for the Vero Beach Dodgers in Advanced-A baseball. He leads the team with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs and just recently, he drove in the game-winning run on Monday. In the last month, DeWitt has hit 11 home runs.

And finally, nobody asked me but...congratulations to the Sikeston 9-year old All-Star team who finished second in the state. Next up will be the Midwest Regionals next weekend.