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A full house for the sixth CGHS Hall of Fame

Posted: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Members of the 1955 CGHS Lion football team (from left): Leon Hayes, Jim Childers, Fred Strebe, Henry Martin, Ted Picknell,Tom Munroe, Byron Angell, Mryl Delbeck, Dean Castle, Jim Hoover, George Woodworth, Jim Seitz, Nathan Sessions' brother, Dean Cranmer and Lyle Chaffee.

As has been the case in the past five CGHS Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, itís always a toss up of who appreciated the event more, the inductees or their family and friends. Such was the experience again Saturday night at the Cottage Grove High School cafeteria, where five outstanding Lion athletes as well as a team, a coach and a community contributor were honored.

For the second time a CGHS head football coach was inducted posthumously. Bob Dusenberry was the first, and fittingly, Al Simpson, whom Dusenberry hired in 1958 to coach the Lions, entered the hall for coaching the Grovers in football. Cottage Grove Police Chief Mike Grover, who played for Simpson, presented the award to Alís daughter Alexis and his twin sons, Patrick and Donald.

Alexis shared with the audience her fatherís inspiring life story. Simpson was reared by a single father before World War II, and his time playing high school sports was very limited. Yet Simpson went on to coach Ashland High School to the Oregon state basketball championship, Medford High School to the state football championship (incredibly, both in the same year), Southern Oregon College to an undefeated conference championship, the Lions to a conference co-championship in football in 1963 and Marist football to second place in the state in the late 1960s.

Leon Hayes presented Doyle Higdonís induction award to his sister, Sue (Higdon) Leabo, who taught high school and junior high science in Cottage Grove. In tribute to her brother, she read a poem and remarked how proud her dad would be of Doyle, an outstanding multi-sport Lion. He died in a logging accident in 1954 after finishing his sophomore year at the University of Oregon.

A Doyle Higdon award has been presented since his death to both CGHS and UO athletes in his honor. At Cottage Grove it was awarded to the outstanding senior football player, but CGHS is considering reviving the award to honor multi-sport athletes on the basis of academics, leadership and achievement on the field of play.

Coming to an induction ceremony is not always easy, especially for some of the more elderly inductees. Vic Fox (class of í54), who has been in poor health, was so motivated he made the long drive from McMinnville and looked imipressive donning his Linfield lettermanís jacket. His son Todd presented the award to Vic, who accepted the honor with class and few words.

For the complete article see the 05-08-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-08-2013 paper.

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