Written by by Robert Ittner
A funny story about Mike Humphrey who had a mean streak. The Bulldogs were handily beating Permian at their gym ( the first year of Permian) and Humphrey and Gene Ross (who later lettered in baseball at UT) were running side by side when Humphrey nonchalantly elbowed Ross in the chest almost sending him into the stands. Fortunately the referees did not see.
I was lucky to play under Coach ROBERT Todd who was a class person as well as a super basketball coach. He was a great fundamental coach and every Monday was fundamental day. He would open the gym during the summer on Tuesday night and players knew to come for pick up games. You would have college kids home for the summer and high school players wanting to get better. He was prohibited from coaching but it gave us a good opportunity to improve and what fun! It is interesting to see how people at this stage in your life can have a positive impact depending on their encouragement or discouragement-Coach Todd was a wonderful influence on me and his reputation as a coach helped me get a scholarship to UT.
The year 1960-1961 I made the A team and started a couple of games when Knox was still footballing and one game when he was sick. We had one returning starter Charlie D surrounded by Knox, Ross Lynn, Albert Pierce, and Royce Woodard. Ron Peavy was 6th man and started some games late in the year. Charlie D. was a great high school player-All State with an unstoppable jump shot where he gathered his feet like a beaver hitting his tail on the water. Knox was an incredible competitor kind of herky jerky but very quick who later starred at UT for Darrell Royal and played on a National Championship team that beat Navy with Staubach in the Cotton Bowl. The other players filled in nicely. I believe each player scored at least 20 points in a game. Royce played at Tech and I understand is a scratch golfer in Midland. Ron Peavy also played in college at Pasadena Nazarene.
That team won district and beat a team from El Paso to reach Bi-Regional where we faced All State Steve Carter and Amarillo Palo Duro. Carter was a long range shooter who we wore down in the first half. In the second half he regained his touch and begin draining what would now be 3 pointers. Charlie D. had an off game having just broken up with Lynn Wallace and missed a lay-up putting the ball over the rim rather than off the backboard like Coach Todd taught us to do. Nevertheless it was a great season and the community really embraced the team.
The Big ITT does it a gain. You should have been a reporter!! Starman aka John M.
Bob, major dittos on everything you say here, especially your tribute to Coach Todd. His departure from coaching was a major setback for my up-to-then great MHS basketball enjoyment/experience. I reconnected with him much later when I learned about his Alzheimer’s late in his life…wish I had done so even earlier. His positive influence inspired many MHS youths, including, of course, me.
Coach Todd was a great coach, teacher, and man. I was in his Geometry class as a sophomore and played on the “C” team. He encouraged me to keep working on both! He was also my neighbor and a great role model.
I echo the thoughts of Pete and James about Coach Todd. He was a fine man. Although he preferred his players to commit to basketball almost full time, I played for him as a junior after football season. He didn’t return after that season and we had Coach Spears our senior year. Night and day in many ways but I recall having fun playing for both.
I remember watching all of those guys as a ninth grader and being inspired by them. You all were well coached quality players who, based at least in part on Coach Todd’s gentlemanly example of leadership, most likely led solid, successful lives after high school. I had some opportunities to run into Knox a few times. He was an outstanding and highly respected trial lawyer in Houston before he passed away a few years back.
Ron Peavy, 1961
Wow, you have captured the essence of an incredible influence–Coach and great Geometry teacher-Robert Todd. Funny story: Coach was so under control and so solid the closest thing I can recall that he came to “swearing” was in the Odessa Christmas Tournament (1960). We were playing OHS in the semi-s and we were behind at halftime and coach said, “if you guys don’t start playing harder and smarter, “you are going to get your FANNIES whupped”. I have shared this story literally thousands of times.
As a future high school basketball coach, I often thought, “what would Coach Todd be saying/doing in this situation”. Just a tremendous honor to be associated with such a talented individual. When he left teaching and coaching, future MHS students missed out on an INDCREDIBLE human being.