A friend, mentor and former teacher of mine celebrated a milestone birthday this week.
Harold Bobo, of Crossville, turned 80 on June 12. Happy belated birthday to Coach Bobo, who helped shape the lives of generations of students at Crossville High School.
As I read the Facebook posts from Coach’s family wishing him a happy birthday, I drifted back in time to 1982-83, when I was a student in his junior history class at CHS.
Coach Bobo didn’t put up with any foolishness in his classroom. If he walked in and yelled, “Get quiet,” then you got quiet. I enjoyed his class and made all A’s. History was my favorite subject.
Coach is a big, strong man who believed in hard work — for himself, his students and his football and baseball players. He was tough and hard-nosed and taught his players to be the same way.
Today, folks would describe Coach Bobo as old-school. But I can tell you without a doubt, that description wouldn’t bother him. His Crossville teams won area and county championships by being old-school. That approach helped the Lion football team win the 1986 Class 3A state championship.
Roger Hibbs was Crossville’s head coach for the state title team. Coach Bobo was defensive coordinator.
On the Sunday of semifinal week, the Lions huddled in the CHS field house to watch game film of their opponent, Lamar County.
Coach Hibbs had started the film when Coach Bobo walked in and told him to turn it off. Roger said Coach Bobo gave the team an emotional speech that fired up the players so much that he sent them home.
The Lions went to Vernon and beat Lamar County 7-6. They returned home to Crossville Memorial Stadium the next week and defeated Elba 22-10 in the 3A finals.
I covered the Crossville-Ider season opener in 1996 at Crossville Memorial Stadium. Coach Bobo was Crossville’s elementary school principal then, but he was on the sideline for the game.
Ider scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, cutting Crossville’s lead to 24-23. Instead of kicking the extra point, the Hornets chose to go for two points and the win.
Coach Bobo looked at me and said, “In the Haushalter-Bobo school of coaching, that’s darn bad coaching,” except that Coach really didn’t say darn.
The late Ronny Haushalter was a legendary Fyffe football and baseball coach and one of Coach Bobo’s friends and contemporaries. Both are members of the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame.
The Lion defense proved Coach Bobo right, as it stopped the Hornets’ two-point conversion try to preserve a 24-23 win.
Glenda Bobo has been the love of Coach’s life and best friend for 58 years. The Lord has blessed their marriage with three children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
I’m thankful for the impact Coach and Mrs. Glenda have made in my life, and I treasure their friendship. I pray the Lord continues to pour out his blessings on the Bobos and their family.
Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.