Linden trophies offered to Hall of Fame

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just a few days after the Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame held its first induction ceremony, the Hall received its first set of memorabilia highlighting the career of one of its inductees.

Championship trophies from football coach Walter “Pistol” Henders’ era at Linden High School have been offered to the Hall by LHS principal Timothy Thurman.

In a letter sent to the Hall’s founder, Tom Boggs, Thurman stated, “Linden High School, as well as the City of Linden, was delighted to learn that legendary Coach ‘Pistol’ Henders was in the first class of Marengo Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

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“Although he coached here long before my time, I am well aware of the honor he brought to the sport of football and to Linden High School. In honor of his induction to the Hall of Fame, I would like to invite your board members to place the historic Red Devils’ trophies in the Hall of Fame near Coach Henders’ plaque. It is fitting that everyone in Marengo County be able to see these trophies and remember those victories, and your board has provided the perfect venue.”

“I was shocked that the trophies still existed,” said Boggs. “I had heard they were mostly lost. This is great news, and we are very excited about it.”

The trophies, representing the Red Devils’ glory years during the late 1950s and early ’60s.

Henders led the Red Devils to seven state titles as voted on by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He was inducted into the Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 9 at a ceremony in Demopolis.

“I have not seen them yet,” Boggs said about the trophies. “I plan to arrange to pick them up soon and get them ready to display.”

The donated trophies will be the Hall’s first memorabilia that represents a county team.

“All we have so far is some items donated by another inductee, Tommy Brooker, from his days at Alabama,” Boggs said.

The event was created by Boggs as a way to honor the many athletes from the county who have gone on to make outstanding contributions in the world of sports.

Six inductees were honored before a capacity crowd at the Civic Center two weeks ago. Their plaques, along with the Linden trophies, will be kept at the Demopolis Public Library until the Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame can be built at the Marengo County Historical Museum in the Rosenbush Building on Walnut Avenue.

“We are very appreciative to Linden High School’s generous donation,” said Boggs. “We hope this is just the beginning to our overall collection.”

Affectionately known as “Pistol,” Henders coached for 30 years, beginning in 1954, and retired from coaching in Chipley, Fla., as the third-winningest coach in the state of Florida.

He became an assistant coach in Live Oak, Fla., in 1954, then moved to Gordo three years later. In 1958, he became the head coach at Linden and compiled a record of 84-12-4 (.850), including a 39-game win streak.