LHS Athletic Hall of Fame nominees
Almost 45 years after their graduation, it’s time for Eddie Lee and Arvis Curry to be inducted into the Logan High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Eddie Lee’s incredible record speaks for itself:
31 touchdowns, 1,863 yards, 186 points. Scoring runs of 93, 91, 75, 69, 68, 65 and 62 yards. He was state champion in the 100-yard dash. Anchor on a record-breaking 880 relay team. They would be enough to qualify Eddie Lee. But as compelling as they are, the statistics don’t tell the whole story of one of the best athletes who ever donned a Wildcat uniform.
Nor do raw numbers do justice to Arvis Curry, one of the fiercest competitors, strongest leaders and most dreaded opponents in Logan High School sports history. First, consider the legendary Eddie Lee. His numbers represent moments in time that remain vivid today for all who were there to watch him play. And through four decades, his legend has only grown.
For a moment let’s turn back the clock. It’s halftime on a Friday night at Wildcat stadium. From the stands we see the score: Logan 7, Man 6. Linebacker Mike Smith recalls Coach Elliot Uzelac entering the locker room, scoffing to no one in particular, “Logan 7, Man 6,” shaking his head in disgust.
Lee listens quietly and emerges from the locker room determined.
During the second half, Logan fans cheer wildly as Eddie Lee finishes the game with five touchdowns. The final score was 53-7, Logan.
“Truthfully, I felt Man was as good as we were, except we had Eddie and they didn’t,” Smith recalls.
Smith remembers the game that same year against Point Pleasant. Lee scored six touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 67-21 win.
But the most memorable game that year was against Woodrow Wilson. “We got behind 26-6 and had only about 12 minutes to go in the game,” Smith recalls. “We never thought we were out of the game because Eddie could make things happen… Eddie went wild. Returned punts. Ran options. Did it all. We scored 31 points in the last 12 minutes. Thank you, Mr. Lee!”
In the spring of that year, Lee ran track on the team coached by Bob Lonker and won the state championship in the 100-yard dash. He ran the anchor leg for the 440 relay team, which was also state champion. The 880 relay team broke the state record with Lee as anchor. Who can remember another Logan High athlete to be state champion in two events?
As a junior, Lee didn’t carry the football as often as he would later because the Wildcats ran the T formation, but he still averaged 8.6 yards per carry. Because of a bout of bronchitis, Lee played only nine
games that year and gained close to 700 yards. A highlight was his 60-yard touchdown to win a huge game against powerhouse Parkersburg High. It was a memorable matchup featuring the state’s two largest schools. In his senior year, the coach moved to the I formation to use Lee’s talents more effectively.
The only thing that could almost catch Eddie Lee was politics. His high school career was marked by controversy over his correct age, through no fault of his own. Opponents railed that he was just too fast, too smart, and too incredible for a normal coalfield high school player. But a high school player he was - investigated and cleared to play by the SSAC as a junior and by a court order as a senior. Back then, most of us suspected the reason folks tried to get Lee disqualified: He was just too darn good. And he was humble about it all. After every stunning performance on the field, he praised his teammates: “Good tackle.” “Way to block,” he would say.
There are many worthy players in the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame, but how many have Lee’s numbers, Lee’s heart, Lee’s intensity, and the level of respect and admiration he earned from his teammates, classmates and opponents?
Among Logan High’s great athletes, Fred “Colt 45” Colvard won the Kennedy Award and was a truly great player, scoring 145 points and gaining 964 yards. The great Johnny “Jaguar” Gilmore scored 63 points and Charley “Choo Choo” Jones was great. He made second team all state and scored 135 points. But one can only wonder what these great players would think of Eddie Lee’s achievements.
“As players, we loved Eddie Lee,” says teammate Smith. “Our senior year we went 9-1. Eddie was the state leader in rushing and scoring. He was the most electrifying player I ever saw,” says Smith. “And I can’t imagine having a better teammate. I can’t imagine a hall of fame that does not include Eddie Lee.”
Lee went on to gain 2,950 yards for West Virginia State College and became assistant football and track coach at Central State University. Later, he coached junior high football in Dunbar for many years.
Most of Lee’s classmates lost track of the soft-spoken, 5’6 running back after graduation (Yes, 5’6 is correct!). But none ever forgot him. One classmate recently recalled Lee’s powerful legs, which were so strong that they could propel him to dunk a basketball.
Now, please consider Arvis Curry.
In the dictionary under the word “perseverance,” there should be a photo of a young Arvis. He was a bear of a boy with the heart of a lion. Born with one arm and only part of another, Curry had grown into one of the big kids on the Whitman Creek school bus by his high school years. His fellow riders were thankful that he was such a gentle giant with a big heart, a helping hand and a ready smile.
He doesn’t carry statistics like Lee’s, but he was known to carry the team often enough in 1968. If they had kept accurate stats for tackles and blocks back then, his numbers would likely have set records. In the words of one teammate, “There are no stats to show the heart of a man. And there are none to show what he meant to his team.”
Among the accolades he enjoyed at LHS were Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and co-captain of the Kiwanis Senior Bowl. Arvis Curry is a legendary player whose exploits on the field are still remembered today.
Never mind his so-called handicap, because Curry himself never did. Neither did his teammates, coaches or classmates. He used what many kids called his “stub” arm to great advantage on the football field. It was as hard as concrete and Curry’s ability to use it effectively was often underestimated. “He was an inspiration to all of us,” teammate Smith remembers. “I played guard beside Arvis. He never missed a block. Arvis had a super technique and his post block made my job easy. Even though we had the great Eddie Lee in the backfield, there were times we needed a couple of yards for a first down. Coach Uzelac knew he could run the ball behind Arvis and pick up the yards.”
Whatever attributes are possessed by a hall-of-fame high school lineman, Curry had them in spades. Opponents came to dread lining up against him. Teammates loved him as much for his grace, character, good cheer and humility as for his extraordinary athletic talent, strength and perseverance. He was a team leader, the likes of which the Wildcats may not have seen before or since. He elevated the spirits and performance of his teammates.
Arvis Curry received a full scholarship to Concord College, where a broken collar bone ended his career. The attitude for which he was so widely respected as a Wildcat served him well in later life. Stories of Curry’s Christian charity and generosity make their way through the hills and hollows of Logan County even today. One is about how Curry took care of a friend’s father who suffered with pancreatic cancer. Another is of how Curry took responsibility and cared for a friend’s mother who broke her hip. And a friend also relates, “My sister suffered from diabetes so badly she had to have several amputations. Who did we count on? Arvis was there again.”
Longtime friend Doug McElwain included these attributes in his letter seeking Curry’s admission to the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame. In it, he posed the questions: “Have you ever seen a man with one arm change a diaper? Have you ever tried tying your shoe with a hand behind your back? This man was born with an inconvenience, but this man rose above all of this and went beyond any expectations most of his family had for him.”
Fellow Wildcats and fans have never forgotten the expectations that Arvis Curry rose beyond on the football field at Logan High. No one with two arms or any other so-called advantage was ever a better lineman, or more of an inspiration.
Arvis Curry’s exploits on and off the field will not be forgotten.
Stephen S. Mullins
Politicians in Washington
The U.S. is suffering from a political leadership crisis.
Our President, senators, and congressional representatives failed the American people by implementing the federal budget sequestration. This half-baked plan was never intended to happen and the arbitrary ways it will cut funding are as ignorant as the plan’s creators. Working-class employees, contractors, and their families will be jerked around like yoyos because a series of unnecessary furloughs and job-cuts will go into effect.
Funding for things like education, defense, and medical care will also be slashed. The disturbing part of this situation is it’s a completely manufactured crisis created by our politicians in Washington, D.C.
Our leaders demonstrated they are incompetent and we need to stand up and make sure these jokers don’t stay in office. America needs a new crop of political leaders who will work together to grow our nation.
I encourage everyone to stop supporting incumbents who don’t meet your expectations and impeach the politicians who have failed you. It’s time to make way for new leaders who will do a better job.
Michael Jessee Adkins