Woodham, Churchill and Danny Gilbert

Ed Woodham Enters Chattanooga HOF Monday

Friday, February 22, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

“Coach Ed Woodham talked to me for 30 minutes about why I shouldn’t quit and I guess it all made sense as I stayed with the sport. No telling what would have happened to me if I had walked away, but it probably wouldn’t have been good.”

-- Hall of Fame Wrestling Official, Danny Gilbert

 

He was a long-haired, street-tough East Ridge sophomore looking for a reason to quit.

But Pioneers wrestling coach Ed Woodham took a page from Winston Churchill’s famous 1941 “Never, Never Quit” speech and refused to give up on the 98-pound Danny Gilbert in the mid-1970s.

“Danny told me that he was going to quit the team because he didn’t want to cut his hair and needed a part time job after school,” said Woodham.

“I let him out of practice for that one day to make some spending money raking leaves, but expected him back at practice the following day.”

Listed number three on the team’s three-deep depth chart at the lightest weight behind Terry Snyder (a member of the 1972 state championship team) and former county junior high champ Rocky Teal , Gilbert had a change of heart, hairdo and attitude, did return to the squad and in two years was a state champion.

“Coach Woodham talked to me for 30 minutes about why I shouldn’t quit and I guess it all made sense as I stayed with the sport,” said Gilbert. “No telling what would have happened to me if I had walked away, but it probably wouldn’t have been good.”

Gilbert soon beat both guys in his weight class for the varsity spot at 98 pounds and registered a pin in his first varsity match.

“My first win was in front of the East Ridge student body and when the crowd cheered after I pinned my opponent I was hooked.

“I told myself ‘I can get use to this (crowd cheering),’” Gilbert said with a laugh.

Hall of Fame: Woodham, who will be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night as part of the class of 2013, has had a habit of not giving up on kids over the years as he coached the Pioneers to state wrestling titles in 1967 and 1972.

Also versed in the rules of team handball, the former Univ. of Chattanooga football player from the mid-1950s molded a Pioneer national championship squad in the mid- 1970s and an adult national title squad a decade later as Gilbert was a member of those handball teams.

Gilbert took a couple of pages from Woodham and Churchill’s “playbook” as he coached his alma mater to the 1991 small school duals state championship.

“That was definitely a Cinderella, ‘never, never quit’ season in 1991 as defending state duals champion Chattanooga Central beat us really bad in the regular season match,” stated Gilbert a hall of famer in his own right, inducted into the Tennessee chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008.

“But we switched our lineup around for the region finals, was able to neutralize as best we could their studs, pulled off the big upset and the next week we were state champions.”

On Monday night, Woodham, Gilbert and several other Pioneer alums will gather to swap old war stories and also remind each other, no matter the odds to never, never quit.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Weathers And Feher In Four-Ball Semifinal

The McCallie-Baylor combination of Andrew Weathers and Mikey Feher advanced to a semifinal Friday in the 46th Tennessee Four-Ball Championship at the Black Creek Club. Weathers and Feher will face Jack Smith and Ryan Green in a semifinal Saturday. The other semifinal will match Vince Gallagher and Jacob Sherlin vs. Lake Johnson and Scott Stevens. The final will follow the ... (click for more)

Rebne, Allmond No. 1 Seeded In Four-Ball

He recently graduated duo from Heritage High School -- Ben Rebne and Sport Allmond-- are seeded No. 1 for the Tennessee Four-Ball Championship this weekend at Black Creek Club. Rebne and Allmond posted a two-day total  of 18-under 136.   46th Annual Tennessee Four-Ball Championship Updated: 6/24/2016 8:53 AM EDT Black Creek Club ... (click for more)

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49, Dies In Red Bank Home Destroyed By Fire; Case Ruled Arson/Suicide

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49,  died in a house fire in Red Bank early Friday morning after the homeowner said he was awakened by popping sounds. Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said the case is being considered an arson/suicide. He said, " At approximately 12:30 a.m., the Red Bank Fire and Police departments responded to a residential fire at 604 Bitsy Lane where they discovered ... (click for more)

Attorney Gets Misdemeanor Plea In 2nd Case Involving Sexually Harassing Waitress

A Chattanooga attorney who was charged for the second time with sexually harassing a waitress has pleaded guilty in General Sessions Court to a reduced charge. In the latest case, Charles D. Lawson had been charged with aggravated sexual battery after an incident at a local restaurant involving a waitress. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said Lawson pleaded guilty to the B misdemeanor ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)