Published 10:11 am Thursday, September 15, 2022

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Treadway-Dugger Gym or Len Dugger Court

BY C.Y. Peters
Commentary Column
To everything, there is a season.  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  A time to love, and a time to hate. That which hath been is now.
It’s been nearly seven years since Elizabethton High School’s longest-tenured, and winningest basketball coach, laid down the basketball and whistle.  Len Dugger coached 26 years for the Cyclones with nearly 550 wins and left with a .692 winning percentage.  In his 26 years, he had 21-winning seasons, and he never failed to hit a double-digit mark for victories.  In fourteen seasons, he collected more than 20 wins in a year, and five times he won over 30 games in a season.
His six state tournament appearances in girls’ basketball are the most ever for a Carter County coach.  His teams played in seven state tournaments during his time at Elizabethton, including a 32-3 State title in the Class AA state championship in the 2013-14 season. His seven total state tournament appearances tie him with John Treadway for the most in Carter County history.
Treadway’s state title came at Happy Valley in 1950.  Treadway was at Elizabethton High School from 1950 – 1973. As boys’ basketball coach his record at Elizabethton was 440 wins and 220 losses.
Dugger was an assistant coach at Hampton High School before arriving at Elizabethton High. He compiled an overall coaching record of 734-271 (.730 win percentage) — including JV and freshman play on the prep level.  He coached Hampton to a 128-21 junior varsity mark (.859) and 61-7 freshman record (.897)
As the Betsy head coach, he won seven conference championships (6 girls, 1 boys), six District titles (all with girls), and eight Regional crowns (7 girls, 1 boys).  He made nine Substate appearances, recording a 7-2 mark (6-1 girls, 1-1 boys).  Dugger’s 1982-83 squad shared the Big Ten Conference championship with Dobyns-Bennett and finished with a 31-7 record.  He captured regional and substate crowns en route to the 1983 Class AAA state semifinals. The Cyclones knocked off unbeaten and top-ranked Murfreesboro Oakland in the State quarterfinals.
In his eight seasons as the girls’ head coach, he recorded a 238-39 record (.859). He won six conference championships, six District Tournament titles, and seven Regional Tournament titles.  He also made seven Sub-state appearances, winning all but one.  He also won six Class AA state tournament berths, closing his career with four consecutive trips to the state tourney in Murfreesboro. The team registered a 126-10 record during that span. In addition to winning the school’s lone state basketball championship in 2014, Dugger’s Lady Cyclones reached the semifinal round in 2013 and 2015.
Dugger’s final two teams finished the regular season unbeaten, going a combined 52-0.  They won 23 or more games in all eight of his full seasons over the program. Hit the 30-win mark four times, with 33 victories in 2010-11 and 2015-16 serving as the high-water marks.  He went 84-9 in conference play, going unbeaten five times.  Some of his girls attended these colleges: Morgan Depew – Tusculum Emily Kiser – King University, then Milligan Kayla and Kelci Marosites – ETSU, then Carson-Newman, Melenda Perry – Milligan, Megan Pietrowski – Milligan, Whitney Roberts – King University, then Coastal Georgia, Sarah Robinson – Milligan, Emily Schubert – Duke University
As a player for Hampton High, Dugger won the 1968-69 Watauga Conference scoring championship (15 ppg) in his senior season, helping the Bulldogs earn a league title. He was voted to the All-Watauga Conference team.  He pitched in 304 points in 37 games as a junior and was voted Honorable Mention All-Watauga. He played collegiately for Hiwassee and then Gardner-Webb. Len Dugger is a member of the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame, entering in 2016, and the Elizabethton Sports Hall of Fame.
Being the longest-tenured, winningest, and the only coach to win a basketball state tournament at Elizabethton, it’s due time and my opinion that the name Len Dugger be placed in Elizabethton Sports History by honoring him.  Renaming Treadway Gym as Treadway-Dugger Gym or naming the court for the first time and calling it Len Dugger Court.  Which one would you prefer?  “The heroes that we choose to name our gyms after are opportunities for our children to see who’s important to us.”

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