School donates trophies to Hall of Fame

Published 11:26 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The historic holdings of the Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame grew by leaps and bounds this week as Linden High School principal Timothy Thurman and head football coach Andro Williams presented more than two dozen trophies of LHS Red Devil football lore to two of the Hall of Fame board members, and former Linden High School Champion Red Devils, Tom Boggs and Wade Drinkard.

The championship trophies were from football coach Walter “Pistol” Henders’ era at Linden High School, one of the first inductees into the Hall of Fame.

“After hearing about the first induction of the Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame and realizing that one of those inductees was a former Linden High School coach who had an amazing record, and was responsible for putting so many of the trophies in the trophy case at Linden High School, it just made sense to me that the trophies should also be a part of the Hall of Fame,” said Thurman.

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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 Feb. 9 at a ceremony in Demopolis.

“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,” Thurman said. “It is fitting that everyone in Marengo County be able to see these trophies and remember those victories.”

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

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 Hall of Fame was created 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 last month.

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 winning percentage), including a 39-game win streak.