Local sportswriter creates book about legendary 1960 basketball season

Published 9:01 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A chance encounter 18 years ago in Union City by Carter County native Charles Peters, a local sportswriter, commentator, and former coach, prompted him to write a book about the 1960 basketball season of the Hampton Bulldogs called Little Men of the Mountains.

According to Peters, he and Glen Bowers in 2001 were working as assistant coaches for the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional baseball program when they ran into some former Union City basketball players while visiting the city. “When we arrived in Union City, some men approached us that were still mad because Hampton had beat them way back in 1960,” said Peters.

In the 1960s, there were no divisions, so to win a state high school basketball championship was no easy matter, as a team would have to play others in their district that far outmatched them.

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The eponymous Little Men of the Mountains — as the Hampton Bulldogs were known as then because they were from a small school in the mountains of East Tennessee and the tallest player on the team only slightly reached over six feet — who had not even won their district, pulled it off with an upset win over the undefeated Union City clinching the state championship.

The book is a collection of biographical data and personal interviews that took Peters more than two years to complete. He said it would have some humorous stories, shared by some of the nine surviving Hampton players about their coach, Buck Van Huss. The book will also feature some rare and never seen photos of the team and of the time period provided by Scott Lusk.

“The book is going to be about what happened to Hampton during the 1960 season that led to their championship,” said Peters. “You might say the book describes a journey to complete their [Hampton’s] destiny to win the state tournament.”

Peters said the book should be out in limited print in mid-June and may be purchased at Browns Supermarket in Hampton, Hampton Pharmacy, Dino’s restaurant, Ole City Dogs Antiques and Jiggy Rays Pizzeria. Discounted copies can also be pre-ordered by contacting peters5@charter.net.