Original Lincoln High School honors historic head coaches

By: Michael Hudak | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
March 29, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A good coach changes the game, but a great coach changes a life.

"When we left home, we left our mothers and fathers and went to school. And these coaches are extended family," Willie "Bootsie" Ellis said. "They just took over for mom and dad while we were in school."

Members of the original Lincoln High School gathered to celebrate Clarence Montgomery, Lindsey Barnes, John D. Harris, Nick Nims and James "Billy" Oliver - five head football coaches of the Lincoln Fighting Tigers in the 1960's.

At the time, Lincoln was the only high school for African Americans in Tallahassee.

These men embodied how football is family, and family is forever.

"The friendships that we form in the practice field, playing ball, football, baseball, basketball, that's a different level of friendship," Fred Flowers, the first African American baseball player at Florida State University, said. "It's a bond that's forged that will never go away."

The group of class members from as far back as 1964 unveiled a new plaque dedicated to the five head coaches. It features the old Fighting Tigers logo and each of their names.

James "Billy" Oliver is the only living coach out of the five, at 94 years old, but each and every one of them left a legacy that will never perish.

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