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

.

 

 

 

 


Inaugural Covenant Track And Field Schedule Finalized

The inaugural season of Covenant track and field will begin in February as head coach Katie Stanford has finalized the 2017 schedule. Overall, Covenant will compete in seven events from February until mid-April. "This is an exciting time at Covenant as we start the first-ever track and field season," Ms. Stanford said. "We have a great group of athletes ready to get out on ... (click for more)

UTC Hoops: Notebook: Mocs Top Marshall – The Rivalry is Back

Senior Tre’ McLean scored a career-high 35 points, UTC beat an old rival, Mocs fans (3,064 announced attendance) came out to cheer and support, Toys for Tots folks received lots of gifts for needy kids and all in all it was an excellent night at McKenzie Arena. High-scoring, talented Marshall came to town Tuesday looking for a win and to rekindle a long time rivalry from ... (click for more)

2 Juveniles Arrested For Arson In Sevier County Fires

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in charges being placed against two people in connection with the deadly wildfires in Sevier County.  Last week, at the request of 4 th  District Attorney General ... (click for more)

Shannon Whitfield Already At Work Eliminating Sole Commissioner Post In Walker County; Process To Take 4 Years

Shannon Whitfield is already at work eliminating the position he won by a landslide in the recent election. Mr. Whitfield, who takes over at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1 after a 16-year reign by Bebe Heiskell, noted, however, that it is a four-year process. He said the two House members and local senator are working with him on legislation that must first be approved. That should ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You Can’t Sue You

The Hamilton County School Board will convene an hour earlier tomorrow to discuss “facilities” and the question of the hour is “Which ones?” Several communities are actively studying pulling away from the county’s Department of Education and the stew is thickening by the day. Now comes the revelation that school board attorney Scott Bennett has sent an email to the town of Signal ... (click for more)