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Daugherty has had the time of his life as North's clock operator

Tanner Cook • Apr 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Few people have seen more basketball games on a regular basis than Sullivan North clock operator Ed Daugherty.

“I really don’t know how long I’ve been keeping the clock regularly at Sullivan North, but it’s been at least 30 years,” he said. “There was one man that did it before I did, and then Richard Carroll asked me to do it. He always said he would look for someone else, but I don’t think he ever did because he knew I was dependable.”

Daugherty, a 1956 graduate of the defunct Midway High School in Scott County near Fort Blackmore, came to the Sullivan County school system and has been associated with some historic moments.

“My involvement with basketball goes back to my high school when I was the scorekeeper for the Midway Red Raiders,” Daugherty said. “We were a small county school who did not have a gym. Can you believe that the teams practiced on a dirt court? The team played their games at Shoemaker Gym in Gate City.”

Daugherty has seen the game evolve in his nearly 70 years of involvement with an unfathomable number of teams. 

“I have seen much change in basketball during my lifetime. The girls played on two half-courts with three forwards and three guards with only the forwards allowed to score,” he said. “They could only dribble twice to a five-member team playing full court where all five can shoot and dribble as much as needed. The pace has changed and the 3-point line makes the game more interesting. During the 20 years keeping the scorebook at Ketron and more than 30 years of keeping the clock at Sullivan North, I have seen some really great players.”

HISTORIC MOMENTS AT KETRON

At the old Ketron High School, Daugherty was part of the only boys basketball state tournament appearance in the history of the school. The Wildcats were ousted by Alcoa in the second round 60-50 in Memphis.

“We had to go all the way to Morristown to play in the region title game to be able to go to the state,” he said. “I had four varsity players in my car, and at Bean Station, a man ran a stop sign and plowed into the side of my car.

“Fortunately, no one was injured, but it shook some of them up. However, they were able to play and win.”

The Tornadoes would go on to lose in the state championship game to an unbeaten Murfreesboro squad, 41-33.

“That Ketron team that went to state was fun to watch,” he said. “I don’t think we necessarily had a star player, but it was just a good group of kids that liked playing with each other.”

On that team was a familiar name to most area basketball fans: Dale Burns.

Burns — the mind behind creating the Arby’s Classic — was a senior for the Wildcats and scored a game-high 16 points (24-12) in the state tournament loss on 7-for-20 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.

MAKING A HOME AT NORTH

Daugherty — retired from teaching math at both North and Ketron for 27 years plus an additional 15 years part-time at Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon — says that the opportunity to be a part of the community is what keeps him coming back.

“I really enjoy seeing young people succeeding whether that is in athletics or academically. The athletic directors at North have been great to work for,” he said. “I have met some great people from other schools who are scorekeepers. I try to give my full attention to operating the clock. I do not let myself get involved with the coaches, players or the referees.

“I enjoy a good ballgame, but I also enjoy when young people succeed well in life. I am delighted when I see students who have done well after leaving North. I hope I have been able to help students master mathematical skills that have enabled them to be successful. I have had many former students to express their appreciation for what I taught them.

“My wife, Betty, has been very supportive of my teaching and time given to athletics,” he said. 

Daugherty’s partner on the scorer’s table is the “Voice of the Raiders,” Thom Throp. He does all of the public address speaking for both the home football and basketball games.

“I knew of Thom and I knew he did a lot of work for D-B, but it has been great to get to know him over the last few years,” Daugherty said. “He always brings a positive attitude to the event and I think he does a great job.”

Daugherty says that he plans on keeping the clock at J. Richard Carroll Gymnasium for one more season, but the future after that is unknown.

“Ed is a very kind and selfless man,” North Assistant Principal Jim Barker said. “He’s such a good guy and we’re very lucky to have him on our team here at North.”

“During my 35 years teaching, I only missed three days for illness,” Daugherty said. “I have missed five or less games keeping the clock and that was due to the games being rescheduled and I had a previous commitment. I did not miss any games due to illness. I am very thankful for having had great health.”

The Red Raider is a part of the Golden Raider family forever.

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