By Ralphine Major

It has been 50 years since I came to Gibbs,” Bob Dagley said.  The long-time administrator for Knox County Schools was head coach of the Gibbs Eagles’ basketball team early in his career.  Coach Dagley shared details of the team’s extraordinary 1964-65 season as he looked back on the player at center position, Tommy Everette.  “I remember

Tommy’s buddies kidding him about trying to dunk the ball while standing in a chair when he was at Ritta Elementary School and the fall he took.  I remember hearing about a member of the custodial staff describing Tommy as not being able to chew gum and shoot the ball at the same time.  It is good to remember where you came from and how it all started, but it is a lot better to remember how it all turned out.”

The former Eagles’ coach continued as he recalled Everette’s achievements.  “This same kid worked and continued to improve and ended up being named to the KIL Team, to the All-Tournament Team, and to the All-State Team; playing in the East-West All-Star game; representing his state in the Tennessee-Kentucky All-Star Game; and finally reaching the top rung of success by being named All-American while at Carson-Newman and is now in their Hall of Fame.  He even had an offer to play professional basketball with the Washington Nationals.”

Dagley summed up the basketball career of the young boy from Ritta Elementary this way:    “That was a long road from being an awkward kid to becoming an All-American, but surely the trip was worth it because few will ever experience it.  Tommy was in the right place at the right time, and he made the most of it.  I hope some young person can read this story and make up his mind to try and work hard even when it may look hopeless, because who knows how it will turn out.  But, I still don’t believe Tommy ever realized how good he could be.”  Everette is the only COLLEGE SPORTS ALL-AMERICAN in the 100-year history of Gibbs High School.

Could any of us have known that while we were cheering on the Eagles in the old Gibbs gym we were watching a future All-American?   What an honor to have an All-American come from our small, rural school.  It is quite an accomplishment for the youngster from Ritta.  It is definitely a statistic for the Gibbs High School record books, as well!  (This is No. 23 in the series on the Eagles’ incredible season; next in the series, Everette’s life after basketball.)