A History of Calvin Cougar State Championship Basketball

By: Joshua L. Johnson
Former Calvin Cougar Team Manager and Historian Class of 2002

This Friday, March 11, 2022, will be a day in the history books for Calvin, Louisiana and Calvin High School. Should the Cougars win the state championship, it will mark a part of the school’s place in history that has not been done in 82 Years. The school’s 1st place in the history books began in 1939. This year was not only the 1st State Championship in the history of Calvin High School it was also a first in the history of Winn Parish, Louisiana, a record that held for 48 years till 1987 when our archrivals, the Atlanta Bulldogs, won their first-ever State Championship

The 1939 Team of Calvin Highs School included Clarence Bates, Don L. Carter, William Silas “W. S. “Dub” Carter, Jr. John D. “JD” Canerday, Hesley Dee Canerday –K. C. Simmons Coach

KC Simmons Biography and obituary states there were seven players on the team. And that two died in youth. The only other name I have associated with this team is W C Canerday. Everything else I found only had these names listed and a photo from that time.

The 1939 State Championship games were held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1939 Calvin was a Class B school. The Tournament was cage-type back in those days. It started on Friday night when Calvin played Meaux and won 30-18. On Saturday, they played the Pride Team and won 31-26. In the Semi-Finals, they played Rose Pine and won 30-28. In the final battle of the Class B State Championships, Saturday night, they headed off against Florien. The final score of the game was 31-25. Each team member received a miniature gold basketball. In addition, the school received two trophies—one from the Louisiana State Athletic Association and another from the university. Today, one of the trophies is in the gymnasium trophy case at the Cougar Den.

Hesley D. Canerday was All-State Forward, and JD Canerday was chosen as All-State Guard.

Calvin High School played on dirt courts until 1948, when our Cougar Den gymnasium was built. This team did not ride on a bus like today; they all piled up in one car together and also had to play in holy shoes. However, according to sources, this team remained very close, and throughout the years, they  reunited several times.

In 1947 several of these players played on an independent team in Calvin.

In May of 1968, the team gathered to honor their coach upon his retirement as Principal of Dodson High School.

In November 1979, the entire team reunited with their coach and Principal George H. Walker for their 40-year graduation reunion, where a photo was taken of them together.

The 1990-91 school year was known as a Banner Year at Calvin High School. A large banner hangs in the gym that honors their sports accomplishments. In January of 1991, Calvin High School was awarded banners for its achievements on the final night of the Calvin Tournament. Notably, Hesley Canerday and Dub Carter, who were members of the 1938 Lady Cougars team (State Runners Up), were present at the presentation.

The late Delores Carter, Winn Parish coaching legend, talked with me many times about the 1938 team. She was so proud of the state runner-up team of 1938. She and Dub Carter both played on this team.

The current Superintendent of Schools, Al Simmons, is the Grandson of K. C. Pete Simmons. He proudly coached this team throughout the years.

The Calvin Cougars came close to being in a state championship game in 2000. They were an impressive team that year had some tough competition

I genuinely hope everyone enjoyed this look back in championship history. I truly hope the Calvin Cougars bring home another state title on Friday as they face-off against the Gibsland Coleman. We are proud of our Cougar pride and spirit and love our school always.

Photo above: the 1939 team that would become state champions that year was featured in a February 1939 issue of one of the Winn Parish newspapers. The photo was taken for the paper after a tournament they won earlier in the year. This is the only known photo during this time.
Left to Right: Don L. Carter, JD Canerday, Clarence Bates, Hesley D. Canerday, W. S. “Dub” Carter, Jr.—KC Simmons Coach

Sources:

Newspaper Article: March 16, 1939 Winn Parish Enterprise
Newspaper Article March 17, 1939 Winnfield News American
*Note: Winnfield had two Newspapers back then. Released one day before the other
Microfilm Copies Obtained From the Winn Parish Library by Joshua L. Johnson Years Ago
Newspaper Article: February 20, 1947 Winn Parish Enterprise: Article About Calvin Independent Team State Players being a part of the team
Newspaper Article: November 14, 1979 Winn Parish Enterprise-News American: Article on 1939 40 Year Class Reunion
Newspaper Article: May 20, 1968 Winn Parish Enterprise-News American
Details about the team Participating in the retirement ceremony of KC Simmons
Book: History of Winn Parish, Louisiana Book Published in 1985
Book Currently Copyrighted by the Winn Genealogical and Historical Association
Article Written by Kermit Mickey Simmons Much of the Biography on his parents was used in his obituary as well.
Obituary : Kermitt Carson Simmons Former Coach and Principal of Calvin High School December 17, 1980 Winn Parish Enterprise-News American Page 1

Photo taken in November of 1979 at the Old Huey P. Long Motor Motel – Now Lynda’s Country Kitchen; the occasion was the 40th Anniversary of the Graduating Class of 1939. Coach Simmons shared the experiences and successes of this team. He and Mr. George Walker received plaques to honor the occasion.
Pictured Left to Right: W. S. “Dub” Carter, Hesley D. Canerday, Rev. Clarence Bates, J. D. Canerday, Don L. Carter, K. C. Simmons, George H. Walker Principal of Calvin High School in 1939. Mr. Walker was retired From CHS when this photo was taken. Photo courtesy of Steve Canerday, Grandson of Hesley D. Canerday


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