Pickens Storybook

This storybook was put together for the Pick Place dedication in May of 2000 while Coach was still with us. We felt it was time that many of these stories need to be shared with all. The storybook from 2000 is reprinted here.

This page is dedicated to our friend and mentor, Coach Jim Pickens. He taught us to live life to the fullest - just as he had done. Coach touched many different people in many different ways - as a husband, a father, soldier, student, athlete, coach, administrator, and golf course ranger. He touched all of our lives in such a way that whether it was yesterday or 50 years later you remember him and remember him fondly. This is what he has given to us. The memories, the joy, and the honor of knowing him.

This page is just a small piece of what we can give back to him. His stories, as told by him or about him, are repeated here. They are repeated with love and admiration so that all may share in the life of this great man we affectionately called “Coach.”

Each story is told in the storyteller’s own words and from his or her point of view. The stories are arranged in no particular order, because there is no particular time, group, or organization that is more important to Coach than the others. He holds them all the same way we hold him - DEAR TO OUR HEARTS.

Coach’s stories never lose their humor due to overuse, because Coach is the consummate storyteller. His craft reminds me of the magic that fairytales have upon young children...no matter how many times a child hears Dr. Seuss, he is still thirsty for more.
Angie Taylor
One extremely hot and humid day Coach was having his high school football team run laps around the school track. He was paying particular attention to 4 of his large linemen that were running together, when he noticed that 3 of them left the track at the far end, went over a hill and headed for a shade tree. When the fourth member of that group finally made it around the track, Coach wanted to know who the other guys were. Coach stood out in the track and put his hand out for the guy to stop - this took about 20 feet to do. Coach asks him who the 3 guys were that left the track and the player responds “hufffff, puuuufff, huuuuff,” trying to breath “Cooooaaacchh, huffff, wiiiiith no disrespect to youuuuuu, huffff, I cannot telll onn myyyyy, huuuufff puuuuffff, friends.” To which Coach replies in a very calm and understanding voice “I respect your loyalty to your friends, that is very admirable.” This makes the kid smile. Coach then says, “And I want you to think about that loyalty as you run 15 more laps.” Without hesitation the player says, “It was Johnny, Billy Ray, and ...” by that time Coach is always laughing so hard as he tells the story I never have heard the third name of that group.

 


My favorite “Pick” story is all of them, just listening to any story Pick tells is entertaining. I could listen to them all day, even the ones I have heard before, and I have heard a lot of them more than once, sometimes on the same day. However, each time the story would be a little different than the time before. I guess any Diddle story would be my favorite.
Phil McGowan
As most of you know Coach used to dip and spit tobacco juice everywhere. One day two freshmen on his WKU baseball team made the mistake of joking about Coach’s poor aim loud enough for Coach to hear them. He sat one on his left and one on his right and made them sit there on the bench the entire game while he alternated spitting on the concrete right in front of them, but never directly on them. They were amazed that his aim was so precise that with each splatter he could hit a clean spot on their baseball hose until the entire sock was black and brown. They never joked about it again, at least not in front of him.
Joe Bunch
You remember the time we went to Barren River Lake for the Pickens Tour in 1999 and you picked Hollis, Dee, and me to be your teammates. Hollis had something wrong with his arm and couldn’t hit his driver, so Dee and myself got 2 drives on every hole. Needless to say “your brother-in-law” (by marriage) was down the middle and long every time. This let Tarzan swing from the heels and he was crunching it. This left you, Hollis, and Dee to provide the chipping and putting. We won going away. This was the very best time I ever had playing golf. The moral of the story is “Pick sure does know how to Pick-um”. Thanks Friend.
Tarzan
Some kids were out here one day throwing their sack lunches into the pond and Coach was trying to drag them out with a rake. Needless to say, he ended up losing his footing and plunging toward the lake when he threw the rake down and it stuck in the ground. The kids got a good laugh out of it and Coach managed to stay dry.

 


There was a time when I was working the shop and got a phone call from a group on the course saying they needed to see Coach. I asked if there was a problem and they said they needed their clubs. It turns out Coach had stopped to talk to these guys, got out of the cart, walked to the tee and got so involved in the story he was telling he jumped in their cart by mistake and took off. By the time I got out there to find him he was headed for the Maintenance Building. If you have never seen a ranger driving around with two full sets of clubs rattling around, I must tell you it is the funniest thing you can see. I finally got him stopped at Maintenance and asked him if he minded trading carts with me, to which he replied, “Why?”. So I said, “Because the guys over on #11 would like to finish the round with their clubs”. Still confused he said, “Why don’t they?” I said, “because if you will turn around and look behind you, you’ll see.” As I went back to the group with their clubs, Coach was still laughing at himself in disbelief.

 


We called for Coach one day and he said hold on he was busy. Come to find out later from a group on the course he was herding ducks. A momma duck and her 7 little babies were out in the middle of #6 and a foursome came to the tee. Coach saw that there was a possibility the ducks might get hit so he parked his cart in the middle of the fairway held his hand in the air for the guys to wait. He then proceeded to herd the ducks towards the pond by pushing the ducks, stopping to hold his hand up for the guys to wait, pushing the ducks, stopping to hold his hand up for the guys to wait, etc. until the fairway was clear and the ducks were safely floating on the pond.
Bob Wilson
Around 1951-52, Gene Rhodes is driving Ralph Beard and myself to E-town to pick up Jim and go on to Campbellsville to play a baseball game. Gene said that we were about to meet an amazing man. That he was a legend and that once knowing him, you would never forget. How right he was. Move on now to 1982. I was the baseball coach at Bellarmine College and they are playing WKU at Bowling Green. We pull up to Diddle Arena in the bus and there is Jim waiting for us to arrive. Jack said “Boys, stay on the bus. I have to talk to an old friend.” I tell you that Jim and I talked and laughed for 20 minutes or longer. When I got back on the bus the players asked me “Who is that fellow” and I said “That’s Jim Pickens, he’s a legend and an unforgettable friend.” There was only one time he led me astray. Pick said “I think that Roland Lastarza will beat Rocky Marciano.” You’ll have to go to the ring record book to get the results of that one.
Jack Rose
A few years ago at a golf outing in Destin, Florida was the foursome of Jim Pickens, John Oldham, Dee Gibson, and Harold Brantley. The game was set that pitted Oldham and Pickens against Gibson and Brantley for the high stakes of $1, $1, $1. At the end of the round Gibson and Brantley had won all three bets for a grand total of $3. Gibson called Brantley off to the side, being some 50 feet from Oldham and Pickens and said, “Don’t ride them too much, we’ll get their money again tomorrow.” Somehow Pickens heard the conversation and stated boldly, “We’ll see who gets who’s money tomorrow.” Well, you know the rest of the story. With that challenge Gibson and Brantley did not stand a chance. We have laughed many, many times that Jim could hear this statement made at that distance. Great Golf Trip. “In the cool, cool shade of the evening, I’ll be there.”
Harold Brantley
I played football and basketball for Coach Pickens at E-town in the early fifties. I attended EKU after graduating high school. One memory I recall took place when he was coaching at Danville. Coach Pickens invited me into Danville’s locker room as his football team was preparing to play Richmond Madison, coached by Roy Kidd, in a highly publicized game being played at EKU. The winner of the game would be the number one team in the state.

 


I watched as Coach taped ankles, put on Band-Aids, etc. Then he proceeded to talk to his players. Coach talked about a game that they had with Richmond Madison the year before. He went on to say that he would give everything he owned to be in the players’ shoes so he could tear somebody’s head off. He spoke with tears flowing down his cheeks which lead to uncontrollable crying, and finally he was beyond speaking. He could only stand there and sob and sob. He finally reached a point to say he couldn’t talk about it anymore. I remember thinking - Coach has lost it! About that time, the Danville players almost tore the hinges off both sides of the double doors as they ran out on the field. They were jacked up higher than any team I had ever seen. When they were all out the door, Coach laughed out real big, slapped me on the back and said, “Ray, I believe they are ready, don’t you?” I could not help but reflect back and think of how he had me so high a few times that I though I could run through a concrete wall. He was the greatest at motivating young players.

 


To make a long story short, Danville beat a great Richmond Madison team 28-0. The score was 28-0 long before the first quarter was over. That acting job had the players’ adrenalin flowing from the start of the game. It got the job done. Four touchdowns were scored in the first five or six minutes of the game. Both teams played fairly even for the rest of the game. Danville became the number #1 team in the state after that great performance. It is my opinion that if Coach had been in Hollywood, he would have a room full of Oscars. That was not all he was about though, he set standards to live by. I still try to live up to those standards today. I love the man, as he has made a life long impact on my life.
Ray Vencill
My Dad - Coach Hodges - and I went to visit Jim and Anna shortly after “Little Jim” was born. Jim was so very proud and told my Dad that the baby looked just like him. My Dad said “but with God’s help he will become more like Anna.” Jim and Anna have been a part of our lives as long as I can remember and have always remained the same caring, loving people that they are today. My family and I are proud of who they are and all of the accomplishments that have endeared them to so many in this community and state.
Julia Hodges Hardcastle
I really have no story. Jim has been a special part of our family - always ready with a hug and smile and sweet words. A very wonderful brother-in-law.
Rosetta Cook
In the spring of 1948 the WKU baseball team, coached by the one and only E.A. Diddle, was at the University of Evansville for a game. Jim Pickens, a super pitcher, and I were on the bench (I was a sore arm lefthander with a bad knee). It was a nice spring day with no wind and bright sunshine - a perfect day for baseball. In the late innings the bases were loaded and WKU was behind by three runs. Jim said to me (his old roommate on all road games), “Robby, tell Mr. Diddle to pinch hit me for this weak hitter we have coming up.” I said, “Coach Diddle this is the type pitcher that Jim Pickens can take deep.” Diddle, in that unique voice, said, “Mr. Ump, we are going to pinch hit and the batter will be Jim Pickens.” Jim took the first pitch, but the second one was a fast ball down the middle. Jim stroked it. When he rounded third the left fielder was still chasing it down, this park had no fences. WKU won by one run. Pick - The Winner - did it again.
Lee Robertson
I was asked to share a story concerning you Jim. Well, this might not qualify as a “story”, but it is a memory I have from our high school days at “Dear Old Butler.” As is the custom, everybody gets everybody else to write in their yearbook. This is what you wrote in my copy of the 1945 book (your senior year) “Akela”: “Good Luck to a very swell girl. No kidding, I’ll always remember you. Stay just as you are - will you. Best of luck in everything you do.”

 


Of course, I know now that you probably wrote something similar in all the freshman girls’ yearbooks, but I thought it was something pretty special from the basketball captain!
Barbara Graham Stroube
Jim, I am thinking about when we went back to camp from furlough and you and Bill Robinson and I agreed to put in for a discharge (knowing we would not get it). You and I backed out, but Bill Robinson did put in for one and didn’t get it. He did stay in the States, but you and I went to Germany.
Jim Hodges
Coach Pickens always fancied himself as a great boxing expert. Roland Lastarza vs. Rocky Marciano. Heavyweight fight of the Century. Coach P. picked Lastarza. I picked Marciano. Lastarza could not answer the bell for Round 2. Coach Pickens not only lost his reputation as a boxing expert, but he also lost $1 to me.
Ralph Beard
As a 12 year old little leaguer, I played 2nd base for the Sports Center Yankees. We were playing one Saturday against the Coca Cola Indians, “Coach Pick’s” son’s team, and a batter hit a sharp ground ball right at me. Being coached by Lee Robertson, I was taught to keep my head down and look the ball into the my glove. Unfortunately, the ball took a weird hop and shot straight up, hitting me on my nose. My parents were not able to be there that day, and needing medical attention, “Coach Pick” put me in his car and rushed me to the hospital emergency room. Being scared I was hurt bad, “Coach Pick” stayed with me and assured me I would be fine. Mr Pickens, as I called him, comforted, calmed, and simply took care of this 12 year old kid. It may have seemed like a small thing to others, but to me it is something I will never forget. This simple gesture plainly shows the care and concern that he has for others and especially children. To me, “Coach Pickens” is the GREATEST!!
Cliff Nahm
Back in Coach’s younger days they used to travel around and play a lot of baseball. One day he and a few future professional ball players traveled to a small town to face a pitcher called Smokey Triplett. He said it only took three pitches to find out why they called him “Smokey”. He said that as tough as the pitcher was, though, he did not pitch a no hitter - they had a foul tip in the third inning.

 


One day Coach and I were talking about our faith in our Creator when the name of a mutual acquaintance came up. This person had expressed his disbelief in a Higher Being to both Coach and me. In response to this disbelief, Coach had told our friend, “If you are right, I have lost nothing because of my faith and belief, but if I am right, you have lost it all.” Coach says it is like a great philosopher once said, “If there is no God, man should invent one - if for nothing else but to develop a lifestyle to treat our fellow man with help and respect.” Coach’s life has always exemplified that lifestyle and philosophy.
Carter Hooks
Bowling Green H.S. - After winning the state tournament in 1965 Coach Pickens, Grover Jones, and Bud Tyler came by our room for bed check. They were very well dressed and we knew they were going out to celebrate. I asked, “Where are you going?” The only answer I received was, “We are going out to get some french fries!”

 


WKU - We were playing a team, I will not mention the name, that Coach Pickens had no love for at all. We were getting some terrible calls and Coach Pickens was getting very angry. Our pitcher threw a wild pitch and the umpire turned his back toward our bench. Coach Pickens tip-toed behind him and yelled, “TIME OUT!” The umpire threw his mask about 50 feet it scared him so bad. He couldn’t throw Coach Pickens out of the game because he was walking toward the mound to talk to our pitcher.

 


My favorite Coach Pickens saying had to do with when someone did not produce at the plate: “I could hit better than that when they laid me in my Mother’s arms!”

 


What he gave me: “The desire to succeed, both in sports and in life.” Not only did I have an outstanding coach, I received something more precious - “A True Friend For Life!”
Vanuos Lloyd
Every conversation I’ve had with Coach Pickens since his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, he has told me that he was going to battle this disease with every ounce of strength in him. This answer didn’t surprise me. The man has always been a competitor. I consider myself lucky to call Coach Pickens my friend. Every parent would love to have their son grow up to be a Jim Pickens. His life is about hard work, dedication, loyalty, and love.
Jim Alvey
Dear Jim,
I have always felt that the two of us have had something in common, you being from Caldwell County and me from Trigg County. We have remembered some fine people in our background that we knew and could recall. One for instance was Spickard the football players from Princeton.

 


I never knew you personally until you came to Western as a faculty member, but I followed your progress and successes at the various schools where you were employed.

 


At Western it has been a privilege to be associated with you, to work with you, and to know your family. I have found you to be professional in all of our associations and you have been committed to do the very best in all situations. Your good and cooperative spirit has made it enjoyable and a pleasure to have been associated with you over the years.

 


I have admired your commitment and dedication to your family, your friends, your job, Western, and your Church. You have always been willing to let people know where you stood when it came to your family and Church.

 


As I told you at Hartland the other day, I admire you! You and your family have Betty’s and my prayers. - Dr. John D. Minton

 


Mrs. Lucille Armstrong was our senior English teacher in high school. There were only three girls in the class, Margaret Terry, Jo Bell, and myself. The rest of the class was boys. The time I am telling you about was book report time. Mrs. Armstrong called on Jim to come before the class and give his report. Naturally, Jim did not have one, but up to the front of the class he went with that grin or smile on his face and proceeded to give his “report”. He then smiled real big at the teacher and the class and sat down. We were all about to laugh, but didn’t. Later, in talking to Mrs. Armstrong, she said that she knew there was NO SUCH BOOK. But anyone who had that much nerve and imagination deserved a good grade and he got one. I have thought about this many times and laughed.

 

P.S. No one but Jim could have gotten by with that. They liked him.
Dottie Bright McConnell

 

Coach Jim Pickens,
You are very worthy of the special tribute being bestowed upon you at Hartland Golf Course. Being friends with Dee Gibson and Coach John Oldham has provided me opportunities to visit with you and thus come to know you as the great person you are. For this I am very thankful.

 


Coach your biography lays out your accolades as an outstanding high school, college, and professional athlete, and as a great coach. However, my admiration for you is in large part due to your involvement helping boys and girls from all sectors of our community, especially those who live “across the tracks”.

 


Our Junior Golf Association has certainly benefitted greatly from your personal involvement. The many junior clinics you, Bob Jeffers, Chuck Keown, Phil Jones and other volunteers have helped with at the Boys & Girls Club, area schools and non-profit agencies has been outstanding. In my opinion, this is a prime example of what you, Coach Pickens, personify throughout our community. Coach, you have always found time to help others while expecting nothing in return.

 


Coach Pick, your candle will burn out long before your legend ever will.
Your friend, Stan England

 

Thank you for including me in a special recognition of Jim Pickens. I have known “Pick” since we were freshmen at Butler High School in Princeton where he was a “star athlete” and all the girls like “stars”. I cannot remember if “Pick” had one special girl, but I do know he had MANY girlfriends, whether he knew it or not. I suspect he did.

 


One of the most vivid things I remember, included the Tiger football team and I was their #1 fan. I believe we were Juniors and the football team decided they wanted to be blondes. One afternoon the team lined up on the front steps at the First Baptist Church and four or five of their female fans, with all the bleaching ingredients in hand, soon had a team of BLONDE TIGERS.

 


Pick and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but we have remained friends throughout the last 55 years. Thanks, Pick, for the memories.
Betty Catlett

 

I recall one of my first games as a Freshman, pitching at Western. I guess I was a little nervous because my parents, girlfriend, President Downing, and friends were all there. After immediately giving up a few hits and walking a couple of hitters, Coach Pickens called timeout and walked to the mound. I just knew he was going to give me some soft words of encouragement and consolation.......WRONG!!!! Instead, with fire in his eyes, he takes the ball out of my hand and says very clearly, “You see this ball? I want you to take this thing, rear back, and throw it as hard and as long as you can!! I don’t care if you throw it all the way over the #@!!*@!# backstop!!!” I was shocked into another level and wound up salvaging a decent game that we won.
Coach has a unique and powerful way of demanding the best of your abilities, of which I’ll always be grateful. These lessons and his influence helped me get to the big leagues with St. Louis and Texas. He remains as a close, loved friend and mentor.
 
Don Durham

 

Ask anyone who was in or near Butler High School in Princeton in the early 40’s if they knew Jim Pickens – the answer : Oh yeah. Ask anyone who lived in Princeton if they knew Jim Pickens – the answer: Oh yeah.

 


I was his classmate and friend, even if he was part of the group sitting on the church steps across from the Capitol movie theater teasing the girls. We all know he could play baseball, basketball, and football. Did you know he could act!?! He was in our (in)famous senior play, probably at the English teacher’s request. It was desirable to be in the same class with him – for he could distract the pop quiz or test with his gift of gab about football and such.

 


Teachers did like him. That’s because he was likeable. We have followed his very successful life after high school with interest. Some of my best times were cheerleading for JarGo. (Jar that line and Go) I’m still cheering for him.
Love Ya Jim Pick.
Margaret Terry (Davis) Schlung
Jim,
I never had the pleasure of playing for you or with you - which I’m sure would have been great - but I have certainly had the fun and pleasure of sharing some social time and story telling with you. I will always cherish those times, the jokes, and stories about Ed Diddle are probable the greatest.

 

However, what I really enjoy about you, Jim, is your bright smile and your bright outlook on life and your delight in telling your stories and jokes. You are the greatest in my book.
Your Friend, Don Miller

 

In 1959, Coach Pickens first year at Bowling Green High, we were playing in Hopkinsville on a very cold and windy November Friday night. We (BGHS) were holding on to a 6-0 lead late in the fourth quarter with Hop-town driving insider our 30 yard line. As we formed our huddle on 3rd down, we could hear Coach Pickens shouting fro Leon Woosley – Leon turned from the huddle to our bench, looked at Coach Pickens and proceeded to flash the universal 3 finger O.K. sign. One of our players, Frankie Jackson, asked what were Coach Pickens instructions. Leon quite calmly replied, “I don’t know.” The next play turned out to be a screen to the defensive right, and who was there to make the play for a huge loss but Leon Woosley. All of us on the team later found out that Coach Pickens instruction from the sideline, the ones Leon didn’t understand, were to be ready for a screen pass to his side - the defensive right side. Coach Pickens, to our knowledge, was never informed of the hearing difficulties that occurred that cold, windy night. We escaped from Hop-town with a 6-0 squeaker of a win.
 
Dale Lindsey 1961

 

Coach told how one day back in the 50’s or 60’s he went up to Lexington to visit some friends at Memorial Coliseum, home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. When he got to the Coliseum he had a hard time finding a place to park, until after circling for a few minutes he found the perfect parking place, one right next to the front door. He was thinking how lucky he was to have found such a good parking space as he heading into the Coliseum. He hadn’t been there 15 minutes when he heard the worst racket coming from the other end of the basketball court. He said he hear language and phrases and adjectives that he had never heard before being thrown by some man as he made his way across the court. Finally Coach was able to make out that the gentleman was upset that someone had parked in his spot and that that someone was Coach. Coach admitted that it was his car in the spot and the gentlemen replied, “Would you move your $#*#!! car out of my #$$#* parking space so I can do some $#@**#@# work around here!!?!!?!!” To this Coach simply replied, “Yes sir, Mr. Rupp. I’ll go move my car right now.”

 


I’m so sorry to hear that Jim is seriously ill. I remember him as a good friend and teammate4 and a superb athlete. I trust that someone will give my warm regards to Jima and assure him of my payers.

 


Perhaps it will be humorous enough to mention some of the very original and colorful nicknames tagged on to various members of our football and basketball teams. Jim himself came up with several of these: Lowgear Nall; Frogeye Watson; Whirlaway Watson; Fat Nichols; Hack Butler; and good friends such as: Pig Richards.

 


Together with Jargo Pickens, we had many good times on and off the football field and basketball court. We looked to Jim for leadership and he gave it, and largely because of him we enjoyed many sweet victories.

 


God bless you Jim, and may He give you comfort as only He can.
Your friend and teammate, Jim Butler

 

One of Coach Pickens many strong points was his ability to inspire achievement by means of his “Pep Talks.” When I was a sophomore at BGHS, our baseball team was having a mediocre season and we were playing Glasgow at the old T.C. Cherry field. A week or so earlier, we had been no-hit by Glasgow pitcher Mike Smith and, in this game, were also hitless against Smith until the 4th or 5th inning. Coach Pickens came over to the bench as we were getting ready to bat and said, as only he can say it, “I’ll buy the first person to get a hit a Double-Thick, Extra-Rich, Super-Size, Chocolate Malted Milk Shake, with Whipped Cream and a Cherry!!!!?” As luck would have it, I was the first batter and hit a seeing eye grounder into left field for a clean single. My stomach was already celebrating at the thought of my “reward”. David Freeman followed my hit with a home-run and we won that game and didn’t lose again until the semi-finals of the State Tournament against Owensboro. I can still remember how he broke the tension in that game with that speech. There are so many that I could relate, but this is one I will always remember because I became part of it. I will never forget this one or the others. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and your players.

 


Oh yes, I never did get that milk shake and I sure was not going to ask him for it later!!!!!!
David Wolfe

 

Jim and I grew up together. We have been good friends for 68 years. We were born in “Submarine Bottom” on the west side of Princeton. Our homes were 2 blocks from each other. We played together all our lives, anything connect with a ball; softball, baseball, football, basketball, and field hockey with a tin can. We also got into a lot of mischief!

 


After high school and W.W. II, Jim encouraged me to enroll at Western. He was already there. We played football together for 2 years at W.K.U. Since college, and me living so far away, our visits together have been limited, but our memories are there! God Bless!
Willie Watson

 

Not many people have the ability to make people laugh, and you my friend are the best. I shall never forget how you brought laughter into my home at the tragic death of my son David. You were a welcome sight when our family needed a lift.

 


You have been a good friend for many years. You have helped others without asking for anything in return, and for that you have made this world a better place. I have always enjoyed playing golf with you and hearing your frequent expression “Take it DEEP!!!” Best wishes to you, my friend!
Denny Wedge

 

I have played for many coaches in my life and you are the only one I still refer to as “Coach”. I give you this respect because you were the most positive influence on my life during my critical high school years. Coach, I have been asked to refer to a special memory - there are so many I hate to narrow it to one: At Danville High School you were the head football and baseball coach; however, one of my fondest memories of you involved basketball. March 1959, the Danville basketball team was playing in the 12th Region Tournament and we were behind by 25 points at the end of the 3rd quarter. The bench coaches, players, and fans had lost all hope of winning the game. You came charging out of the stands and gave us one of your “patented” emotional and inspirational speeches. With this motivation, we rallied and came within one point when the game ended. Even though we lost the game that night, I learned a valuable lesson - “that you should never give up.
With Love and Affection, Clyde Wise DHS ‘60

 

Under the tutelage of Coach Pickens, I learned more about being an administrator than through all of my other experiences combined. I especially learned that the focal point of being successful in any facet of life is the rule that Coach lives by, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” He is quick to detect and applaud the achievements of so many individuals and all Coach ever wanted in return was your trust and confidence. Well Coach Pickens, I trusted you for 22 years and that made a big difference in my life. You will always have a special place in my heart and I will covet your friendship forever! Coach Pick....I applaud YOU, I respect YOU, I admire YOU...I LOVE YOU!
Debby Cherwak

 

A lookout block, as Coach says, is when you drop back into the pocket, turn around to see a big ugly 300 pound lineman about to pound you, and you hear your offensive lineman - the one that was supposed to block that guy - yell “LOOKOUT!!!” The one you never see coming always hurts the most. Coach told me he received his last lookout block when he went to a doctor in Nashville preparing for back surgery so he could “stripe it down the middle” once again. That was when the doctor told him he had ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease.

 


This last lookout block is one he has said he won’t recover from - but he also said he is not going to just lay there with this “big, ugly, fat, 300 pound lineman” on top of him - he is going to fight. And fight he will.
Phil Jones

 

Pickenisms
  • HCA - Hack City America (used to describe poor golfers)
  • CCA - Chop City America (see above)
  • Take it Deep (tee off and hit it far)
  • Don’t shoot me out of the saddle (do what you think best, but don’t undercut me)
  • John Henry (five right across the lips)
  • Non-debatable (when he asks a group to speed up and they argue, it becomes this)
  • No question about it (to describe a good play)
  • Brother, he can bring it (to describe a good pitcher)
  • Running with reckless abandon (player break out on a play)
  • That pass is between the 8 and the 8, it is a catchable ball, you’ve got to catch it
  • Just give me a cigar box and we’ll be good to go (when asked about working registers)
  • and the always familiar and cheerful “BROTHER!”
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