Part 4 of 5
THE UNFORGETTABLES: Eddie Wayne
The true heart of the program. As a coach and then administrator and AD, he made sure we always taken care of. As the man who led the program from some of the darkest times to the brightest, we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
#52 – Class of 1991
Eddie Wayne was just a great guy. He was by far the best principal, and always helped me out when I had a problem or question. He may have let walk a few times too lol.
Eddie Wayne give us a chance to start early with flag football that had never been done!
When I think of Coach Eddie Wayne Michael I think of pride and support! He loved being a Bulldog and he radiated that so much that he made us proud to be a Bulldog. He and Dr Fletcher are alike in how they take pride in supporting our students. I think back to the 1989 season when we were freshman. Some reason we played LaRue Co who was top 3 in the state (looking back that eased nerves a few yrs later when we traveled to unknown territory in Mayfield). Four of us Freshman got to dress and ride “the scrub bus”. To us it was “the
bus with older cheerleaders how did this happen?” We were supposed to get run out of the stadium but in true blue collar LC fashion we were in an intense emotional battle to win. As their players would take cheap shots we got our first taste of Chief Gorells intensity and passion to have his players back. Less than 3 min we stop LaRue Co and have the game won but get two straight holding calls on our beast of a dlineman James Cordial. Jim Bob and Eddie Wayne let it be known they had our backs! We never forgot that and you want to play all out for an Administrator that has your back!
Eddie Wayne had a vision and a plan for our program that was unmatched! To put in perspective he was a Coach, Principal and Superintendent at different points. He was also the one that created our flag football league for the youth where he would give up his Saturday’s to officiate and build bonds. He would be a part of bringing the Coach Goldsmith’s and Chuke’s to Lawrence County. If you enjoyed a second of being a Bulldog I hope you thank him. Thank you so much Coach Michael for your vision and dedication. You created the stage that built lifelong bonds like the ones that are reuniting Bulldogs this weekend that haven’t all been together in 30 years! It’s because of you! Thank You!!
Eddie Michael is the biggest influence I have ever had in my life. He is also the biggest influence on a community that I have ever seen. His Awesome Entire Family is an example of what a great person he is.
When I was lucky enough to get hired by Bob Prichard he told me that I would love coaching for Eddie Michael. I didn’t realize how true that was going to be. When I arrived here right out of college Eddie had an AWESOME system in place. He had the GREATEST LITTLE LEAGUE COACHES EVER, but they were much more important than just coaches. The kids were taught right and wrong, discipline and the importance of good grades as well as good fundamental football. He got the Blaine bus running kids back to the school after varsity practice and got a bus to run to Fallsburg too.
We had the BEST middle school coach ever, Walter Pigmon. I would bet that all the student-athletes that went through this program has a fond memory of it and the care that was shown to them. Eddie also had a fantastic QB Club, men and women worked there tails off to help our kids. They all had one purpose, the children, which came from a Great Leader. If your going to be successful, you have to have a Great Leader. Our Community absolutely LOVES FOOTBALL. Every game our HS played seemed to be a BIG Rival. I thought that was so much fun. I could talk forever on what Eddie did for all of us HS coaches. Eddie made us all feel like Family. He let me start out coaching the freshmen and JV and it was the greatest learning experience. He made sure all of us could coach fundamentals on both sides of the football and all special teams. Made sure we new what we were coaching before we taught the kids. Any player that ever played for Eddie can probably still say the football rules that he taught them. Every level ran very similar plays with the same rules. Eddie Michael brought our entire community together on Monday for J.V games. Tuesday and Saturdays for little league games. Every Thursday for freshmen games. The middle school played on different days and was always looking for a good game. But on Friday Night, It was the Biggest Show in Town. Thank you Eddie Michael for being my friend, father figure, coach and teacher and LEADER.
The year was 1992. Dr Dre had arrived on the scene. Silence of The Lambs left movie goers shocked leaving the theatre’s. Songs like Enter Sandman and Thunderstruck rang off the lockeroom walls. Those songs were fresh hits over the past couple of years but it would be Back In Black the old AC/DC song that the Bulldogs most often came out of the tunnel to. It was a badge of honor to wear the intimidating Black on Black uniforms. It was a feeling that teams knew they were in for a long night.
Coach Eddie Wayne Michael’s plan had worked. The Lawrence County Bulldogs were now known as a statewide powerhouse. It’s a different ballgame when you go from the hunter to the hunted. Everybody was going to bring their best shot at us every Friday night…..we could have cared less. You see those early years had already trained us at Stella Moore. There would be no hunting us. We were only concerned with day in day out becoming the best version of ourselves that we could be. That was the championship mentality we’d been engrained with.
There were definitely question marks. Gone were so many of the talented teammates talked about earlier. It wasn’t just their athleticism missing it was also the brotherhood we had created. There was now a next man up mentality and that’s what we got. Teammates like Mike Woods, Bobby Roark, Ronnie Jordan, Bobby Prater, Mark Perry, Jason Wells, Joey Bevins, Brandon Pigg, Chad McCreary, Larry Mears etc. Many of these guys our best childhood friends. Some from the younger class would become our new brothers! There was a big void losing Quarterback Travis Phelps. Luckily the speedy Roger Lyons picked up some great experience in the Russell double overtime game the year before.
There were also question marks with the coaching staff. Gone was Coach Jim Bob Michael the lifelong Bulldog. I have to pump the breaks and share what Jim Bob did for my life and I hope coaches, educators dial in. It was Soph yr at Georgetown camp. JB pulled me over after a two a day and in a nutshell shared why he believed in me and that I would see the field if I kept it up. There’s an old adage “it takes one adult to believe in a kid to change their life”. I was fortunate with many but zero doubt him taking the time to have that one conversation changed my confidence forever! Thank you JB!
The biggest question mark coaching wise was the loss of Gary Morris the dynamic offensive coordinator that helped lead the DAWGS to the elite level. The signature 44 Blast, 32 dive, sprint right banana pass etc had carried us through the years. Time was ticking. We had a ton of leadership and talent to go with the confidence. Finally a few weeks before the season started Coach Goldsmith announced our new offensive coordinator would be at practice today.
As we’re stretching on the field under the hot summer sun a figure appears walking down the track. Some dude with Jheri curl looking hair, flip flops and a smoke hanging out. It was on that day Charles “Chuke” Williams would enter our life as our new offensive coordinator! We all hit it off fast as he would have us rolling telling his stories referring to himself as “Chox Dog!”
In was a new offense with some belly read, triple option along with some other stuff. We messed around trying to find an identity then finally got smart hitching our cart to Jr running back Lee Abshire. “Abby” was like an older sibling playing again a younger brother and their friends. The game just seemed slowed down as he dominated week after week.
This team was built for defense. There were three year starters at each level of the defense. Chris Hamilton and Morgan Cyrus made up the HamMo Express up in the box crushing people. There wasn’t a better nose guard in the state pound for pound than Shawn Cordle. 145 lbs quick as a cat! We could have sat back eaten popcorn and had a smoke most of the Johnson Central game. Shawn jumped the center play after play. He’d pounce on the quarterback before he could hand the ball off! That was another shutout game. His relief would be Lee Dixon aka “Stud Mouse!” Lee was the same way. Shorter and benched over 300lbs. Watched him jump from nose guard spot take the handoff from the quarterback before the tailback could get there and return it 80yds for a touchdown!
We had steady physical outside linebackers in Prater, Roark and Jordan. Mike Woods would come up with big plays in big spots on the backend. Mears showed talent too.
I’ll let Coach Goldsmith take it from here:
The 1992 Bulldogs started out once again with very high expectations. Before we could get started we lost two very important members of our coaching staff. We lost Jim Bob Michael and Gary Morris, two of the best coaches I have ever worked with. We didn’t know what we were going to do, but Eddie Michael came to the rescue again. He hired Chuke Williams, David Lemaster and Brian Brown in there place. We all fell in love with all three of them right off. We had several returning starters. We had 3 year starter Chris Hamilton who was in my opinion the best offensive and defensive lineman in the area. Morgan Cyrus was Middle Linebacker and Fullback and as tough and mean and couldn’t wait to hit something. Blake Preece was a 3 year starter and was the QB for us in the secondary. James Moore was a returning starter at center and also played Defensive line. He was very physical and loved it. Shawn Cordle was a two year starter and the hardest guy to block in the area. Mark Perry was a returning starter at Guard. Our QB was Roger Lyons and also a two year starter in the secondary. Lee Abshire was our Mr. do everything Tailback, he also played QB, WR and TE. He played 5 different spots on defense in his career and was just a junior. Lee also Punted and Kicked for us again this year.Nobody had one like that. Michael Woods was a 2 year starter at Defensive back. We had Chad McCreary, Ronnie Jordan, Jason Wells, Eddie Young, Bobby Roark, Bobby Prater, Joey Bevins, Brandon Pigg and Greg Rowland started for us. I might have forgot somebody. We started off the season 5 and 0 with wins over Russell, Fleming County, Johnson Central, West Carter and Lewis County. Then we traveled to Raceland and played Bill Tom Ross and the Rams. It was 3 to nothing very late and we needed to get a turnover. Larry Mears stole the football and scored, but they blew the whistle and said it didn’t count. Larry came to me and said, coach I can do that anytime I want to. I said, get back out there and want to for us. The next play he stole it again. Then Roger Lyons completed two passes and got us inside the 15 yard line and we couldn’t get it in and lost 3-0. We won the next 3 games against Tolsia 34-6, Rowan County and Mason County. Roger Lyons was hurt and didnt play against Mason County and Lee Abshire played QB and ran for 300 yards. The Bulldogs went into Sr. Night 8-1 and we were playing East Carter. Our Sr. players had just walked through with there parents and the officials hadn’t shown up yet. I called our commissioner and said we don’t have any officials. He said, I made a mistake and I’ll get you some tomorrow. East Carter and I both wanted to play tonight. We had Mr. McPeek a former official and we had Hughie Robert’s and they had a coach and the commissioner said we could play and we did. Craziest thing we’ve ever done, there was almost a fight every play. We finally finished the game stopping it with 3 min left and won 32-14. We gave up an average of 9 points a game that season and hadn’t given up more than 14 points in any game. We had won 14 straight district games and we were district champions. We opened the playoffs with a 36-0 win over Shelby Valley. Then we played a very heated rival in Fleming County. It was a very hard fought defensive game and there was under two minutes to go in the game. All they had to do was down the ball and get out of Louisa. They ran a sweep and Lee Abshire threw there tailback out of bounds. We sent the whole team and blocked the punt. We got the ball on the 44 yard line. We are losing 9-6 with 9 seconds to go. Roger Lyons threw a Hook and lateral pass which we never ran it right one time in practice. He threw it to Jason Wells on a hitch who pitched to the 6 million dollar man Lee Abshire who ran it in for a TD. I will never forget Sheldon McCreary screaming on tape, I can hear it now. The only person that could of tackled Lee was me. I was screaming like a crazy man the whole time, it was like nothing we had ever experienced. Anyone that was there will remember it forever.
We then played a very good Prestonsburg team and we just couldn’t hold on to the football. We had 5 turnovers. We were still ahead in the 4th quarter 8-6. They had 4th and about 15. There QB threw a long pass and it was caught with one foot in and one handed. Our defensive back was all over him. It was just one of those plays. We had a turnover late and they won 22-8. A Fantastic bunch of kids and we all had a great run. At that particular time this class had won more footballs games than any previous teams in Lawrence County History. We won 31 games in the last three years and almost went to the final four back to back. Chris Hamilton represented us in the Kenucky/Tennessee All Star game. I just want to know one thing, How Much Fun Was That.
31 wins in 3 seasons. Statewide elite status. Eddie Wayne’s plan was in full effect. The snowball was barreling down hill and it wouldn’t stop for a decade!