Legendary Signing Class Set Longley On Road To CSCC Hall of Fame

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - by David Jenkins

 

By anyone's measuring stick, Steve Longley was a neophyte when the Cleveland State baseball job came his way in the summer of 1974.

 

His playing background was impeccable: a career at the University of Tennessee followed by parts of two seasons playing for the Cincinnati Reds.. But as a coach, Longley had but one year of prep experience under his belt when a sudden need arose.

 

“Ed Coates had been head coach for 2-3 years, but he took the job at Tusculum,” Longley recalled Saturday following his induction into the Cleveland State Hall of Fame. “I had one year of coaching Darlington Academy under my belt, then I left to get my Masters at UT.”

 

Longley hit the recruiting trailed armed with little more than the Chattanooga and Knoxville papers' all-star teams, a telephone and some words to live by Joe Crabtree, who had been the program's first head coach and Coates' predecessor.

 

“I had one meeting with him, and he made sure I was recruiting the best players I can find who also had the best character,” Longley said. “He more or less said that if I settled for less, you'll get used to taking less and eventually you'll smell the difference.”

 

Crabtree, who was also inducted Saturday but was unable to attend, was heeded. Longley;s reach into his hometown of Chattanooga was helped thanks in large part to having his brother, David, who was coaching at Baylor. A year later, Longley brought in a pair of talented pitchers – Scott Bell from Knoxville West, who two years later would be a top draft pick of the Boston Red Sox; Mike Moore from Chattanooga McCallie by way of Vanderbilt.

 

An undersized catcher with a big-time name and a big bat, Ted Williams May, was also brought on board and that 1976 Cleveland State team was TJCAA state champion, regional runner-up and the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

 

Bell had a no-hitter that first year, was TJCAA all-state in '77 and went on to Georgia after passing up the chance to turn pro; Moore would go on to be the first CSCC player to be named first-team All-American; May would go on to lead the nation in home runs in 1977 and signed with the Chicago Cubs.

 

And Saturday, Bell, Moore and May joined Longley as part of the school's inaugural Hall of Fame class. In 1978, another one of Saturday's Hall of Fame inductees, Larry Simcox, joined the program and the juggernaut was rolling.

 

During Longley's 14 seasons as head coach, he was named TJCAA State Coach of the Year four times, and led the team to it a runner-up finish in the Juco national tournament. He stepped down with a record of 446-181 and currently is assisting one of his former players, Joe Shamblin, at Walker Valley – where his son, Caleb, is currently a senior.

 

“This year might be it for me,” Longley admitted. “I'm old school. I believe the phone is the the most valuable tool in recruiting, more than texting or tweeting. I'm always going to want to talk to recruits, look them in the eye.”

 

E-mail David Jenkins at carty43@netzero.net



UTC Soccer Hosts Furman, Wofford To Close Out Regular Season

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's soccer team will close out the regular season this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Mocs will host Furman Friday night and Wofford Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, UTC will honor its six seniors before the match.   The Mocs will be fighting for position in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament. UTC is currently ... (click for more)

Bantam And Intermediate Champions Crowned On Day 4 Of 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier

24 bantam and intermediate champions were crowned at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, during the fourth day of the 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championships.  The noon session was filled with excitement as the young boxers put up hard fought bouts in hopes of taking home the title. The noon session also served as the youth male’s quarterfinals, ... (click for more)

$125 Million County School Building Plan Includes Shifting CSLA To Tyner Middle; Combining Tyner High/Middle; New Harrison Elementary, New East Hamilton Middle

Hamilton County School officials on Thursday unveiled a $125 million building plan that includes moving the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to the current Tyner Middle School, which will undergo a major renovation. Tyner Middle will move across the street into Tyner High School. Both Tyner buildings have been under-utilized for a number of years. There will also be ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Committee Says Pulling Away From County Schools Is "Feasible"

After eight months of investigating the viability of Signal Mountain establishing a separate school district, a committee of six has determined that it is feasible and would meet the goal of improving the education provided to students. The committee was also tasked with identifying obstacles and if possible to find ways to overcome them.  Results of the report were presented ... (click for more)

The Deer Decline At Enterprise South Nature Park

There are now 11 fewer deer to see at Enterprise Nature Park. The hunters snuck another one in secretly so as not to cause controversy.   I go to that park three or four times a week, and haven't seen any deer for months, and I used to see them all the time. They had to put out "salt licks" to attract deer from surrounding areas outside the park. Then they killed them ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: At Last! New Schools

In this me-me-me-only-me world of today, we-we-we-finally got a thrilling $125 million facility plan for the Hamilton County Department of Education on Thursday night. The School Board unanimously approved a well-thought-out “first Band-Aid” that will provide a new elementary school in Harrison, middle schools in East Hamilton and Howard, and a quite-satisfactory answer to move ... (click for more)