Roy Huskins: The Legend of Elizabethton

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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By C.Y. Peters

Roy Huskins grew up in the small town of Elizabethton, where he quickly became a local legend. From an early age, his athletic mastery was undeniable. He dominated the baseball diamonds in Little League, Pony League, and Colt League, earning all-star honors at every level before stepping onto the fields of Elizabethton High School.

In junior high, Roy showcased his talents as the quarterback for the Green Wave. His leadership and skill on the field were a precursor to the remarkable career that lay ahead. By 1957, he was playing baseball for the Am-vets all-star team alongside Glen McQueen and Cotton Hodge. The following year, he joined long-time teammate Dick Ryan under the management of Haskel Williams, demonstrating his consistent excellence in the sport.

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Roy’s transition to high school brought new opportunities and challenges. As the quarterback for the Elizabethton Cyclones, he led his team to numerous victories. One of the most memorable was a stunning 44-0 win over Happy Valley. Playing alongside future Tennessee record setter Johnny Mills, as well as Larry Bowling and Sam Bradshaw in football, Roy helped the Cyclones achieve their best football record since 1954. His efforts culminated in being awarded the Most Improved Player in 1960, a testament to his hard work and dedication.

In his final high school game, Roy’s performance was nothing short of spectacular. Leading the Cyclones to a 25-6 victory over Ketron, he opened the game with long passes that set the stage for the Cyclone rushers to amass 270 yards on the ground. As the only returning starter for the Cyclones football team in his senior season, Roy’s leadership was invaluable. His outstanding play earned him an honorable mention on the All Big 7 team by the coaches, and he was also honored with the Citizenship Award for his exemplary conduct both on and off the field.

Roy’s talents weren’t confined to the football field. Under the guidance of Coach Bobby Chambers, he excelled in baseball, leading the Cyclones to win their first three games of his senior season and dominating the conference from the mound. A notable highlight was a 3-2 victory over Morristown, where he allowed only four hits, showcasing his talent as a pitcher.  Roy tossed a one-hitter against Greenville his senior season.

After high school, Roy attended East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and continued his passion for football by coaching the Cyclones’ freshman team. In 1966, he joined the coaching staff at Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett (DB) High School, where he stayed until 1972, honing his coaching skills and inspiring young athletes.

Roy’s career took a significant turn in 1973 when he accepted a coaching position at North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The school had recently won the 4-A state title in 1971, and Roy was eager to build on their success. In 1976, he was a top candidate for the Elizabethton coaching job but ultimately stayed with North Forsyth when Dave Rider was chosen instead. This decision proved beneficial, as Roy was named Coach of the Year in 1977, further cementing his reputation as an exceptional coach.

Throughout his career, Roy’s contributions to sports in Elizabethton and beyond did not go unrecognized. He was inducted into the Elizabethton High School Sports Hall of Fame and, in 2021, the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame. These honors reflect not only his remarkable athletic achievements but also his enduring impact on the community.  He was also selected to direct the Bob Hope & Bing Crosby Celebrity Golf Tournament Foundation.

Roy Huskins’ story is one of dedication, talent, and perseverance. From his early days as a baseball all-star to his high school triumphs in football and baseball, and his subsequent coaching career, Roy’s legacy in Elizabethton is indelible. His journey serves as an inspiration to young athletes, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, greatness can be achieved. Roy Huskins will always be remembered as a true legend of Elizabethton.