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


PHOTOS: Sights Of Orange & White Fan Day

Cleveland State Tops Roane State 10-7

Cleveland State heads to the post season victorious after a high scoring regular season finale against Roane State. Leftfielder Connor Coakley drove in four runs on a homer and single helping the Cougars take the 10-7 win.  First baseman Caleb Longley added a two run homer in the bottom of the sixth.   Cleveland State (22-20, 9-17) trailed the Raiders 7-4 entering ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says City Council Cannot Make Taxis Not Registered In Hamilton County Go Through Emissions Testing

The state attorney general's office has ruled that the City Council cannot require that taxis not registered in Hamilton County go through emissions testing. The city is dealing with the new Uber taxi service that has an out-of-town owner. Locally-owned cabs have to go through the annual emissions testing. The opinion says that local taxi owners cannot get around the emissions ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Bracing For Possibility Of Isolated Severe Storms, Tornadoes Not Ruled Out

The National Weather Service is feeling uncertain about today's weather pattern and has not ruled out the possibility of isolated, severe thunderstorms or an isolated tornado in our area. The greatest threat seems to be between 4 and 7 p.m. this evening. Below is the latest update: HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK...UPDATED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN 127 PM EDT SAT ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the ... (click for more)