Green High School has a long and cherished history with their boys and girls basketball programs, which date back to the 1920’s. From the school’s first boys basketball coach, Lewis Smith to the current coach Dirk Hollar, the Green Bobcats have seen years of tremendous success on the hardwood.
Now, through the work of former Green High School player and coach, Elroy Whitaker, a history of the sport at the school can be available to everyone seeking information about the Bobcats or the Lady Bobcats, as Whitaker recently completed a 44-page book detailing the story of basketball at Green.
“One night, I was in bed, and I woke up, and something said, ‘why don’t you write a book on the history of basketball at Green High School,’” Whitaker replied when asked why he wrote the book. “I never talked about it to the family or anything. I got up the next morning and I told my wife that’s what I think I’ll do.”
Whitaker said his wife was confused at first, as she didn’t know what he was talking about initially. He later explained what he was talking about.
He began work on the book during this past winter, and continued working on it until finishing his work in the last several weeks.
Part of the inspiration for the book about the history of basketball at Green High School came from Whitaker’s own experiences as a student, basketball player, and coach for the Bobcats.
“I graduated in 1954, and played three years on the varsity (team), and one year on the JV,” Whitaker said. “Then I went and worked, and went to school at Rio Grande.”
Whitaker started at the university in 1957, where he eventually graduated and later became a teacher in 1960. He would teach for 30 years throughout Scioto County, and some in Dayton, Ohio, before retiring in 1990. The former educator received his Master’s from Xavier University.
Whitaker and his son researched old yearbooks and made use of the Portsmouth Public Library as they looked for information on the various basketball programs at the high school. Other sources of information came from former players, coaches, and articles from The Portsmouth Daily Times.
As he was doing his research for the book, Whitaker came across several interesting notes about the history of basketball at Green High School.
“One of the interesting things, I got 245 boys that played ball that was either a starter, or something like that, over a period from the present time all the way back to 1930,” Whitaker said. “And, I have them listed in the book.”
A lot of joy came to Whitaker as he worked on the book, interviewing former players, coaches and others about the school’s basketball program.
Whitaker was able to talk to the leading all-time scorer in boys basketball at Green, Don Queen. Queen graduated in 1948, and scored 1,831 points in his four years at Green, in a time long before the three-point field-goal was added to the game. Queen continues to hold the all-time scoring record for the Bobcats boys basketball program, currently lasting 68 years.
Queen’s record is listed among other players for Green that have made at least 1,000 varsity points. Whitaker is a member of the club, scoring 1,200 points in his varsity career.
There is also a special section devoted to Tracy Williams Rehl. Rehl is the all-time leading scorer in girls basketball at Green, as well as the overall scoring leader, regardless of gender, in basketball. She finished her varsity career with 2,143 points, along with a slew of individual awards and records, all of which can be found in the book.
Also in the book are lists of former coaches for both boys and girls programs, photographs of past teams and records from individuals and teams.
Whitaker will be on-hand at the Green High School Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 7, 2016, to sell and sign copies of his book. The proceeds will be used to cover the costs of printing the book and the purchase of several plaques. Two plaques will be purchased for the coaches of both the boys and girls teams, two for players scoring at least 1,000 points in their varsity career, and another two plaques for the individuals scoring the most points in one game.
Once those costs have been met, the remaining proceeds will be donated to the Green Alumni Scholarship.
Books can be purchased for $10 at the banquet, and will be available at the school following the banquet.
Additional information regarding the Green High School Alumni Banquet can be obtained by calling the school at 740-354-9150.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.