The beginning of the legends – John Treadway

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, December 19, 2019

The year, 1906, was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1906th year of the Common Era and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 906th year of the 2nd millennium, the 6th year of the 20th century, and the 7th year of the 1900s decade.
Just after Christmas of that year in East Tennessee one of their greatest coaches was born – John A.L. Treadway who would become the leader of great men and be responsible for many coaches to come.
I was delivering newspapers on Powder Branch Road that sad day when I saw a white wreath at John’s home and I knew what that meant – a legend had gone home.
From 1906 till 2001, Treadway had been the man who made it possible for so many great athletes to become coaches.
John who lived to be 94 years old, coached sports from 1931 till 1973 finishing at Elizabethton High School where he ended with 843 wins and ranked in the top 25 in the nation for wins.
Treadway began his high school sports playing days at Science Hill during his freshman season where he played football, baseball, and basketball.  He then transferred to Happy Valley and played just two sports as at that time the Warriors didn’t have a football program.
John lettered in both sports and would enter E.T.S.U. where he also played football.  After graduation in the early 1930’s, he would begin his teaching and coaching career at Happy Valley.
Treadway would coach many sports but would win the 1950 TSSAA State Championship.  Treadway had made two trips already to the state tournament placing second in both of them, once in 1941 when a young man named Charlie Bayless was one of his players and again in 1948 when Joe Treadway would become the state’s MVP player.
Then in 1950, Treadway would bring home the big prize with Monta Clark taking Carter Counties third MVP  player award.  Elizabethton’s Carl Treadway won the MVP in 1944.
Buck Van Huss had transferred schools just to get to play for John Treadway and once Van Huss became a coach it was a strong rivalry game anywhere they played.
Treadway left Happy Valley and came to Elizabethton where he would stay until he retired in 1973.
At Happy Valley, he left with 403 wins with three State appearances and a state title.
Treadway would begin coaching football in the fall of 1950 for the Cyclones. The next four years his football teams would win and play in consecutive bowl games.  Treadway coached football until 1956 and would become Elizabethton’s Athletic Director.
Before retiring in 1973 he would leave the court with 843 wins and coach players like Charlie Bayless, Buck Van Huss, Bobby Chambers, Dick Ryan, and Harold Stout who went on to coach at E.T.S.U. and Milligan for many years.
Buck Van Huss won the 1960 State Tournament, Charlie did the same in 1974.  Harold Stout coached many great ballplayers at E.T.S.U. and at Milligan.  Bobby Chambers coach several area high schools and at the University of Kentucky.
He was Sullivan East High’s first basketball coach and went 47-16 with back to back Upper Lakes Championships including the District Tournament.
Dick Ryan played for Elizabethton when they came in second place in baseball in the state tournament and he went on to coach Rich Valley Virginia High for 18-years.
Other coaches that Treadway coached were Don Marshall who managed world boxing Champ John Tate.  Larry Bowling was an assistant coach on the 2004 Unaka State Basketball Championship team.
Richard Ensor coached at Bristol for over 40 years while Bob Laws coached at Vanderbilt and his former alma mater Elizabethton.
Johnny Mills who held records in football at Tennessee for over 30-years and coached in Cawood, Kentucky. Gary Elliott coached at T.A. Dugger and Elizabethton High.
Kenny Hyder coached Jonesboro and Mary Hughes while Cotton Hodge was head coach in Lafayette, Georgia.
Others included Johnny Taylor in Virginia, Steve ‘Pink’ McKinney coached at five different high schools in football, baseball, and basketball. Jimmy Hyder led Covington Kentucky and Tex Maxwell coached at Unaka, Elizabethton and Happy Valley.
Tommy Jenkins and Harold Ellis both coached at Elizabethton with Sam Austin coaching in Georgia and Florida. Carl Gouge was at Happy Valley, John Goodwin in Virginia, Harold Dean Hyder in Cincinnati, Ohio and Nick Hyder was a head football coach for 28 seasons.
In Georgia, he compiled a record of 302-48-5 (85.77%) – one of only 13 coaches to win 300 or more games in the state.  His winning percentage was 85.77% while he won 16 region championships and seven state championships.
His teams were additionally recognized as national champions in 1984, 1986, and 1992. The search goes on for coaches that Treadway coached during his time at Elizabethton and Happy Valley.
Coach Treadway played semi-pro baseball and was an umpire in the Appalachian Baseball League.
He served for several years as a member of the Carter County Court as a magistrate of the eleven-man court. He was later elected as a Carter County Commissioner and served in that capacity for 12 years.
John was one of the first inducted into Carter County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and in the Tennessee State Sports Hall of Fame, the TSSAA Hall of Fame, and was a charter member of the Northeast Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the ETSU Pirate Club Hall of Fame, the Happy Valley High Hall of Fame and the Elizabethton High Sports Hall of Fame.
The Elizabethton High School Gymnasium was named in his honor.
Treadway at the time he retired ranked in the top 25 in the nation for wins as his teams captured four region titles, eleven District Championships, seven State Tournament appearances, and a State Tournament Championship in 1950 with Happy Valley.

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