Standing Room Only Tribute For Lionel Langford

Blue Raider State Mat Champ Laid to Rest

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

In Feb. 1988, a standing room only crowd at UTC's Maclellan Gym watched as Cleveland High School senior Lionel Langford won a state championship in his last match in a Blue Raider singlet.

Thursday afternoon inside Shiloh Baptist Church in Cleveland, another overflow crowd paid tribute to Langford - a wrestler, husband and father - who passed away last week at 43.

Hall of Fame wrestling coach Al Miller was sitting in the corner cheering on his wrestler in 1988 as well as today.

"Lionel was a free spirit to say the least and one who had to try things his way - at least at first," said Miller with a smile.

"Eventually he would come back around to our (coaching staff) way of doing things, but he definitely had a mind of his own."

Pre-Match Donuts: Miller tells the story of Langford's pre-match meal at a tournament in December of his senior year. 

"We were at a tournament in upper East Tennessee and I made the mistake of giving each wrestler meal money for the day, instead of having team meals together," Miller stated.

"Lionel was a returning state runner-up from 1987 with a real shot at winning a state championship."

One of three wrestling Langford brothers - along with Howard (1986 state champ) and Shelton plus nephew Quantel - Lionel was not on top of his game that weekend and fell short of winning the tournament.

"I found out later that Lionel's 'pre-match meal' was a bag of white powdered donuts which led to his loss to a good Science Hill wrestler," Miller stated.

Fast forward to the 160 pound Region 1 finals in early February where Langford tech falls the same Science Hill wrestler (Brian Pardue), 25-9, and wins his state title the next weekend (Pardue placed fourth).

"LIonel had the talent, but at times he just needed the coaches to keep him on the straight and narrow," Miller said.

A wrestling champion and military vet who made his family proud, did push the envelope at times, but knew all too well the need to stay focused on the eternal straight and narrow all the way to the final whistle.

Mat Notes: Lionel's son Caleb (has graduated) and Micah (rising senior) have wrestled for Alan Morris at Walker Valley ... Lione's nephew, Quantel, wrestled for Cleveland in the mid-1990s.

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

.

 

 

 

 


RBI Southeast Regional Tournament Begins Tomorrow Morning In Chattanooga

Chattanooga RBI will be hosting the 2014 RBI Southeast Regional tournament, which begins Friday morning on fields throughout the Chattanooga area.  Six leagues throughout the region will be competing in the Junior, Senior and Softball Divisions to earn a berth to the 2014 RBI World Series, the championship tournament of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.  ... (click for more)

State Junior Team Tennis Here This Weekend

Five hundred junior tennis players in age groups from 8-and-under to 18-and-under from across the state will descend on Chattanooga this weekend for three days of accurate overheads, crisp half volleys and solid serves for the State Junior Team Tennis Championship. Beginning with pool play on Friday as well as a players party at the Chattanooga Lookouts game (Fireworks ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The NCAA’s “Division IV”

Jonathan Jensen and Brian Turner are two very smart guys. Not long ago the two sports researchers at Ohio State authored a story that appeared in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports that focused on the most successful college football teams in the country and, earlier this week, a writer named Ben Cohen broke it down in understandable terms for a fascinating Wall Street ... (click for more)