HAZARD — The Hazard High School Hall of Fame will be inducting six new honorees this Friday, including one of the school’s first African-American athletes.
Happy Mobelini, Bill Davis, L.D. Gorman, Chris Pulliam, Charlotte Sizemore, and Linville Wright are among the inductees this year.
Wright, one of the first African-Americans to play basketball at HHS or in the Sweet 16 state tournament, spoke this week about what it was like attending the newly integrated school in 1957, as if he was still walking its halls.
“Really, it was just like any other day to me. I got along with everybody, and I knew most of the players before we integrated; we played ball together around in Hazard and at the vocational school. To me, there was no difference,” Wright said.
Hazard Independent schools integrated in the ’56-’57 school year, Wright said that same year the basketball team won the Hazard invitational tournament, beating Breathitt County in the championship game at Memorial Coliseum. The team then went on to play in the state tournament, but was beat out by Pikeville.
“We should have won it, we should have won that tournament,” Wright, who also played football and baseball in school, said. “I still say that right to this day.”
After high school, Wright said he went into the military where he served for eight years, even becoming a member of the tactical air command’s basketball league on his base, an honor he said is comparable to going to the NBA.
“I was stationed overseas, in Germany. I’ve been a lot of places; I’ve travelled a lot,” Wright said.
Wright said being inducted into the HHS Hall of Fame is just as big of an accomplishment for him as anything he has done so far in his life.
“It’s an honor, you know, you’re one of the elites,” Wright said. “I just can’t put it in words.”
The ceremony will be held during the half-time of the Hazard and Powell County varsity game on Friday, which starts at 7:30 p.m.