Work begins on the book “Chasing the Gold” The Len Dugger Story

Published 8:27 am Friday, September 22, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters

Coach Len Dugger is a legend in Elizabethton Basketball.

He wasn’t just a basketball coach; he was a mentor, a father figure, and a symbol of excellence. For over three decades, Coach Dugger dedicated his life to the game.

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His journey to greatness began in 1974 as an assistant to Coach Jerry White at Hampton, one of White’s best teams. In 1979 Dugger took the helm of the Elizabethton boys’ basketball team. Little did anyone know that this unassuming coach would become a local icon. Over the years,

Coach Dugger molded his teams into disciplined, determined units that played with heart and purpose. Under his guidance, the boys and girls team thrived, achieving a record of 732 wins and 271 losses.

In 2014, Coach Dugger’s career reached its pinnacle when he led the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones to the state championship. It was a moment of pure jubilation for the coach and his players, a validation of years of hard work and dedication. But Coach Dugger was far from satisfied with just one title.

Over the years, he continued to lead the Lady Cyclones to incredible heights. Six state tournament appearances in a row, reaching the semifinals or better in each of his last three years, was no small feat. His record of 234 wins with 39 losses in girls’ basketball was a testament to his coaching prowess. Eight regional titles and six district titles adorned his resume, showing his dominance in the region.

Coach Dugger’s influence transcended gender boundaries. In addition to his success with the girls’ team, he also led the boys’ team to a district title, showcasing his versatility and deep understanding of the game. He was a force to be reckoned with, amassing seven wins out of

nine sub-state games in both boys and girls.

In his final four years of coaching, Coach Dugger’s magic reached its zenith. Four league titles, four district titles, four regional titles, and four consecutive state tournament appearances were the stuff of legends. In his last two years, his teams boasted an astonishing 67-2 record, leaving opponents in awe.

The 2011 girls’ team set a school record with 33 wins. It was a testament to Coach Dugger’s enduring legacy, a legacy of hard work, determination, and unwavering commitment to the sport he loved.

As Coach Len Dugger hung up his whistle, he left behind a community forever changed by his presence. He wasn’t just a coach; he was a symbol of excellence, a source of inspiration, and a true legend in Elizabethton. His record of achievement will forever stand as a testament to the power of dedication and passion.

Peters is asking that any former players, coaches, or fans who may have some stories to share contact him at peters5@charter. net or on Facebook or Messenger.