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Fans of Tell City’s early 1970s boys basketball glory days undoubtedly remember John Jameson, a key assistant coach for the Marksmen 1968-73.
He coached the Tell City freshmen to a 73-15 record, including an 18-0 season in 1969-70.
The varsity Marksmen went 105-21 while he was here, winning five sectionals and two regionals and coming within a point of winning a semistate.
Bob Lochmueller, Tell City’s head coach then, has often said that Jameson was one of the best assistants he ever had at teaching the fundamentals. Lochmueller asked him to remain as freshman coach throughout his Tell City tenure because he felt that was the level where fundamentals needed to be stressed most.
Jameson was also a sophomore English teacher and later the head of the Tell City English department.
As one of his former students, I recall that around sectional and regional time he would occasionally draw diagrams of basketball plays on the blackboard and take questions from his students about some key moments in recent games. That was good training for a future sportswriter.
Jameson later became a head coach at Mount Vernon and Jennings County, where he retired and still lives.
But he still holds Tell City dear to his heart. He was one of the few former assistant coaches who returned for Tell City basketball’s 100th anniversary alumni game Nov. 26, 2011.
And now he has written a booklet about his days in Tell City, “Tell City Basketball Marksmen 1968-73: A Basketball Coach’s Notebook Featuring Diagrams.”
I wish the booklet was longer—it’s only 25 pages. But I think fans of Tell City basketball in those days will enjoy reading it and reminiscing along with Jameson.
He mentions all of the other Tell City assistant coaches in that span, including a couple that I had forgotten.
He talks about how Lochmueller motivated the Marksmen when they trailed South Spencer by 10 points at halftime of the 1972 Boonville sectional championship game.
As for players, he writes, “I am not about to write about every player, as I was fond of all of them.” But he mentions 19 of them, including four who were never regular varsity starters.
He goes most in depth about Bobby Cravens and Paul Werner, two of the top stars of his 1969-70 undefeated freshman team and later stars for Tell City’s 1972-73 25-2 varsity squad, and Bryan Taylor, for whom Tell City’s gymnasium is now named.
Jameson did misspell two players’ names, spelling Mike Roos’ as Rose, the way it was pronounced, and leaving the second e out of Mike Poehlein’s last name.
Jameson also reminisces about what Tell City was like then and his introduction to the Schweizer Fest.
Again I think Tell City fans of that era will enjoy Jameson’s trip down memory lane. And it could definitely be educational for many younger fans as well.
The second part of the booklet should be of interest to every young basketball coach at any level from fifth grade to varsity.
That contains 35 diagrams of offensive plays, defenses and positioning drills that Tell City ran in those days, along with a complete two-hour practice schedule accounting for every minute. As he says, “There was no horsing around. We practiced hard for two hours.”
Though it is short, I think most fans and coaches will find the booklet worthwhile.
It sells for $10 and we have a limited supply of them available here at the News office.