Memories Of Louis Stout And Paul Hornung

Paul Horning with FDNY Firefighters at the 2009 Notre Dame vs. Navy game.

Paul Horning with FDNY Firefighters at the 2009 Notre Dame vs. Navy game.

In the same week that my friend and former colleague Louis Stout died, the horrible 9/11 anniversary rolled around and my thoughts turned to Paul Hornung.

Why Hornung? Well, yes, Kentucky’s most honored football player, a Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame member, was known as a playboy. But deep down he is an old softy.

A few years ago, Paul called and said he had this great idea: A New York City firehouse was just across the street from the World Towers and its company bore the brunt of rescuing survivors.

As you probably know, many New York City firemen are Catholic, Irish and Notre Dame football fans.

So Paul wanted to do something special for the heroic firemen. He wanted to take them to a Notre Dame football game. But aren’t all Notre Dame football games sold out? Yes, but there’s just one Paul Hornung. Friends who have accompanied him to Irish games say that you can’t believe the shouts and applause he generates when he walks through the crowd.

Paul in back row!
So if anyone could pull it off, Paul could – and he did!

This was one time that Paul gladly insisted on being in the back row when photos were taken. There he was, beaming proudly at what he had pulled off.

He sent me the photo and used we used it big in The Voice-Tribune.

More on Stout

When Louis Stout passed away, he was president of the Amateur Athletic Union, the body that is in charge of amateur athletics in the United States. He also is remembered for his years as commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, and for his years as a star basketball player for Cynthiana High School and for Regis College in Denver where he played for Joe B. Hall, who followed Adolph Rupp as the coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. He coached UK to the 1978 NCAA championship in St. Louis.

But the best thing that Louis ever did was write the athletic history of Kentucky’s black high schools before integration.

Nothing in the book will surprise you, but you may become angry and even shed a few tears because Louis pulled no punches in what players and coaches had to endure. For instance, some schools had so little resources that five or six basketball players would crowd into one car for away games.

For football players, it might have been flatbed trucks.

On the way home from out-of-town games, the dread was that in the dark of night they might be stopped by law officers.

When Stout started researching for his book he was surprised at how little was published about the black teams. Even in Louisville, The Courier-Journal did little to report on Central High School. Central and Lexington Dunbar got a little copy, but not much. I started at The C-J in 1955 and took over the high school beat the next year. One Friday night I started out of the Sports Department and one of my colleagues asked where I was going. I told him to the Dunbar-Central game. He said, “We don’t go there.”

Well, I did.

Black, White Mix

Later on, two mountain white schools, coach Morton Combs’ Carr Creek and coach Pearl Combs’ Hindman, started coming to Louisville each season to play Central and St. Xavier. The mountain teams would switch opponents the next night. And Central would return the games in Eastern Kentucky and would stay in the homes of Carr Creek and Hindman players.

Carr Creek and Hindman, both from Knott County just north of Hazard, both won KHSAA state championships. Central was barred prior to integration and never won a KHSAA state title, but Central under Bill Kean won national titles in black tournaments that were held in Nashville at Tennessee State.

Sadly, Louis’ book, “Shadows of the Past,” is out of print and unavailable.

Louis was the fifth commissioner of the KHSAA. Ted Sanford was the first and was followed by Joe Billy Mansfield, Tom Mills, Billy Wise, Louis Stout, Brigid DeVries and the present commissioner, Julian Tackett.