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TSSAA Hall will enshrine Wilson today

BILL LANE • Mar 17, 2007 at 1:00 AM

They called him the "Silver Fox.''

Ted Wilson, whose teams had won three state championships, pulled up stakes at Maryville in the early 1980s and moved to Kingsport.

As Dobyns-Bennett's new football coach, he didn't insist on bringing in his own staff.

"I asked all the assistant coaches to go through spring practice with me,'' Wilson said. "Then, they could decide if they wanted to work with me and I would decide if I was going to keep them.''

Everything went smoothly and the entire eight-man staff was retained by Wilson, whose only addition was D-B graduate Graham Clark.

Wilson placed Clark in charge of D-B's offense. He served in that capacity until Wilson's retirement and was appointed head coach.

While at D-B, Wilson guided the Indians to a 96-25 record. Combined with his success at Maryville, he finished with a 246-51 career record.

Wilson is one of nine who will be inducted into the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame today, and some of the others crossed the paths of D-B's athletic teams during their careers.

Wilson was known for his delegation of authority. He didn't attempt to micromanage.

"Ted was good to work for,'' Clark said. "When he gave you a responsibility, you were to do it. He was a lot of fun to be around. He was for the kids.''

Clark plans to attend the Hall of Fame luncheon, set for 11 a.m. on the Middle Tennessee State University campus. The event is being held in conjunction with the Division I boys state basketball tournament finals.

In Wilson's 14 seasons at Maryville, the Rebels produced a 150-26 record. The school won state championships in 1970 (12-0), 1976 (12-1) and 1978 (14-0).

His winning ways continued at D-B. In 11 years, the Indians won six Big 10 Conference championships.

Wilson's strong suit was his flexible defense. His favorite split-four alignment allowed the Indians to show finesse and also be physically imposing.

Offensively, Wilson liked the wishbone so much he once commented: "Give up the wishbone? Why, I'd give up my wife first.''

Surprisingly, D-B junked the wishbone in favor of a double-slot offense several years later. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson stayed together.

Wilson could always laugh at himself.

After learning that D-B's team before his arrival had been penalized excessively for delay of game, he vowed that if he didn't accomplish anything else with the program the Indians would get out of the huddle on time.

In his debut, the Indians got caught on the first play of the game for delay. "I learned never to say ‘never' again,'" he said.

Two administrators, four coaches, two officials and one contributor will be inducted.

Others are Albert Ellison, Lynn Brown, Wayne Hobbs, Fred Sorrells, Jerry Vradenburg, Richard Welch, Ed Henley and James Warmbrod.

Ellison was a D-B nemesis as a player in the early 1950s, leading Linden past the Indians in the state tournament. Having coached at four high schools in the state, he has more than 700 wins.

Vradenburg was Gallatin's basketball coach in 1973 when the Green Wave overcame a 16-point deficit to beat Buck Van Huss' Indians 47-45 in the large-school state title game. He had 500-plus wins.

Sorrells, who coached football 40 years, spent the last 22 at Greeneville and had a 153-83 record there. He was on the sideline opposite D-B a few times.

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