Danny Wooden finds a big hole and races for Bradley yardage in this photo from his high school playing days.
Andrew Johnson and Danny Wooden will be among the inductees at the Cleveland Parks and Recreation Department’s 43rd Old Timers Hall of Fame banquet April 26.
Johnson and Wooden will join Chuck Atchley, Dianna Johnson, Ted May, Don Sewell, Ed Foddrill and Ritchie Hughes as inductees on April 26 at the Museum Center at Five Points.
The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets, which are $25 each, must be purchased by April 22 and can be picked up at the city Parks and Rec office at 160 2nd St NE.
Andrew T. Johnson
A 1962 graduate of College Hill High School, Johnson said his “first real challenge in school came when I tried out for the varsity basketball team.
“The first day of tryouts, Coach (Ben) McCutchen told all of us during practice, 'I’d rather have a good big man on my team any day, than a good little man. Of course, if you can jump and handle the basketball on the court well, you just might make the team.' The coach was looking directly at me.”
McCutchen told the team they should be able to jump up and grab the back-brace rail behind the backboard and hold on without falling.
Johnson said he told his mother he felt the coach was picking on him. She told him he needed to “figure it out yourself.”
Instead of going to the library to study the next day, he spent the time in the gym trying to jump high enough to grab the bar.
“After 10 tries, I was still not able to grab the bar railing. Then I started running around the gym as fast as I could, and all of a sudden, I jumped and sprang from the wall behind the goal and caught hold to the rail and held on,” he said.
The next day the coach called his name and told him to catch hold of the bar railing. “I got up, went about halfway down court and started running as fast as I could. I sprang off the wall behind the goal and caught hold of the bar. Everybody clapped their hands. Coach said, 'Congratulations, Andrew, you’ve made the team. Go get your uniform.’ I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mother I made the team!” he said.
Johnson noted that in 1962, the schools were segregated. “My friend, Coach Dale Hughes at Lee College, would unlock the doors to the gym and let me, Marvin Woods and Jessie White Sr. come in at 9 p.m. and practice. He taught us so much more about the game of basketball. I was a long-ball shooter. My best game was against Cook High School in Athens. I scored 16 points. We won several games that year,” Johnson said.
The son of Tom and Martha Wooden, Danny Wooden has been married to Karen Wooden for 36 years. They have two sons — Rob, who is married to Maegan Wooden, and Ryan, who is married to Megan Wooden.
“The joy of my life is my granddaughter, Ainsley,” Wooden said.
Wooden grew up in the Oak Grove School area. He started playing backyard sports with Dennis Carroll and Chuck Clark.
Carroll and Wooden have played sports together since sixth grade.
“Dennis and I have always pushed each other in sports to be the best we could be. We still do to this day in various competitive games,” he said.
Wooden played baseball in fifth grade for the Senators, coached by Leonard Baker. Then he played football for the 49ers, coached by Harry Elmore, and then played for Oak Grove School. In grades 5-8, he was coached by Bill Bigham.
“Coach Bigham was the toughest coach I ever had,” Wooden said. “We won the championship all four years.”
During his time with Bradley Central High School, he played freshman football, coached by Jerry Frazier and Bill Robinson. His sophomore and junior years, Wooden played defensive back and running back on offense.
“My senior year, we went 13-0, winning the state title with three overtimes,” Wooden said. “That year, I broke the single season rushing record and held the record for 20 years, until broken by now Bears head coach Damon Floyd.”
“Playing with guys like Scott Kyle, Dennis Carroll, Eddie Albornoz, Tim Kuhns, Tim Tinsley, Terry Scoggins, Bobby Delay, Wes Brooking, David Jones, David White, Richard Varner, Jeff Allen, Dale Clabo, and Randy Goins was a great experience. We were a team and played as a team and did our job on the field. We were also lucky to have younger players like Kenney Hooper, Marty Walker, Gary Austin, Gregg Geren, Bobby McClemore, and Kenny Higgins just to name a few. We were coached by Louie Alford, Dale Woodard, David Cawood, John Chuey, and Bob Zvolerin,” he said.
“We had the best cheerleaders, band and fans that traveled every Friday night to support the Bradley Bears. That was a lot of pressure our senior year, not to let down all the support,” he said.
“My biggest fans were my mother, Martha, and grandmother, Reba Allen,” Wooden said.
“I have had many accomplishments through the years. My biggest accomplishment is raising two wonderful sons. I am so proud of the men they’ve become, and life paths they’ve chosen. I was also honored to coach baseball, football, and basketball in the little league. I truly enjoyed and had some wonderful players,” he said.
After 35 years at UPS, Wooden “retired the Brown Truck” in August 2012. He presently works part time for Firehouse Corporate for Tim Goss out of Charlotte, N.C.
“This is truly a real honor to be inducted to the Old Timers Hall of Fame,” he said.
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