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Where are they now?

By David Scott
dscott@charlotteobserver.com

Players

Neb Hayden

Hayden, Myers Park’s star quarterback in 1965, played for coach Bear Bryant at Alabama for two seasons. After college, Hayden worked with the Young Life youth ministry in Huntsville, Ala. He became an associate of the International Foundation, an organization that helps develop agriculture, education, health, social development and environment in other countries. Hayden, 64, has written one nonfiction book – a bible study of “When The Good News Gets Even Better.” He lives in Gainesville, Ga.

Bill Farthing

A senior end on the 1965 team, Farthing is an attorney in Charlotte’s Parker Poe law firm and was the firm’s managing partner from 2002-12. Farthing, 64, who has represented Johnson C. Smith University since 1974, created the firm’s director of diversity position and is vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Nick Karres

Karres was a junior defensive lineman for Myers Park in 1965. He went to North Carolina, where he played on the freshman football team. After leaving Chapel Hill, he opened Charlotte’s Double Door Inn tavern and music hall in 1973. Karres, 63, has been the proprietor ever since.

David Stanley

Stanley, a senior end in 1965, went to Wake Forest on a football scholarship. He played on the Deacons’ freshman team before a knee injury ended his career. Stanley, 65, is in sales and lives a short distance from the Myers Park campus.

Online extra: Watch David Stanley lead his former teammates in singing a jingle from Stanley's drugstore.

Mack Tharpe

After starring at Myers Park, Tharpe returned to graduate from Greenwood (S.C.) High. Tharpe played linebacker at the University of South Carolina, leading the Gamecocks in tackles as a junior in 1969. He lives in Greenwood, where he is in the flooring business.

Online extra: Can you find Mack Tharpe in the interactive 1965 Myers Park Mustangs team photo? (Hint, he's in the first row; click on most of the players to find their names and positions.)

Von Weddington

Weddington (formerly Sam Bell), one of four black players on Myers Park’s team in 1965, is retired from the military and lives in New Mexico. The other two blacks on the team, Harry Chappell and Hurley Faulkner, are deceased.

Harris Woodside

Woodside was a three-time Observer all-Mecklenburg selection at end. He went to the University of South Carolina on a football scholarship. A knee injury in his freshman season ended his football career. Woodside, 65, lives in Columbia and owns Woodside & Associates, a computer technology and systems integration firm.

Second Ward-West Charlotte Breakfast Club

George Wallace

Wallace, 69, a former quarterback at Second Ward High, is retired and lives in Charlotte, where he is active in Grier Heights community affairs. He was the longtime executive director of the Grier Heights Economic Foundation.

Parents

Irma Kirkpatrick

Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick’s mother was well known as a gospel singer at Antioch Baptist Church. She formed “Waves Of Joy,” a choir that sang Negro spirituals and hymns. When Irma Kirkpatrick died in 2002, her funeral was attended by choirs throughout Charlotte and North Carolina, overflowing Antioch church. The memorial service and musical tribute to her lasted deep into the night. Listen to Irma Kirkpatrick sing the lead in this video.

Irma Kirkpatrick's obituary from the Charlotte Observer.

Jimmy Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick’s father Jimmy grew up in Grier Town and was one of the neighborhood’s top baseball players. He left the family when Jimmie Lee was 10 and moved to New York. He visited Charlotte occasionally when Jimmie Lee was a teenager, but never saw his son play football. Jimmie Lee saw a different side of his father when he visited him in Brooklyn. His father frequented pool halls, gambled and hung out on the streets. Jimmy Kirkpatrick, who died in 1992, remarried and had more children in Brooklyn, including former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. “My father was just a regular street guy caught up in the street world,” Tyson said. Tyson is familiar with his half-brother Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick’s athleticism. “It’s in the bloodline,” he said.

Family

Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick’s wife Vicki is a physical therapist in Portland, Ore. His oldest son Tony Covington, 47, lives in Los Angeles, works for AT&T and was a running back for the University of Washington football team from 1985-88. Son Jimmie, 23, is in graduate school at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he plays the trumpet. Youngest son Nathan, 22, majors in criminal justice at Western Oregon University.

Coaches

Gus Purcell

Purcell was one of high school football’s most innovative offensive minds when he coached at Myers Park High from 1952 through 1971. Purcell’s Mustangs teams were 209-75-15. He coached in the 1960 Shrine Bowl and the East-West All-Star game in 1959. Myers Park’s football stadium is named in Purcell’s honor. After Purcell retired from coaching, he ran a successful quarterbacks camp in south Charlotte. He also owned a barbecue restaurant and fish camp in Charlotte. He died in 2011 at 87 in his hometown of Laurinburg. An online memoriam still carries a message from Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick, who posted, “I put my life in his hands and he made me the man I am today.”

Gus Purcell's obituary from the Charlotte Observer.

Jack Sink

Sink, an assistant football coach at Myers Park in 1965, was also the school’s long-time baseball coach. The school’s baseball stadium is named in his honor and is where the Jack Sink Invitational tournament is played every April. Now retired, Sink, 84, lives in Charlotte near the Myers Park campus.

Clyde Walker

Walker, coach of the 1965 N.C. Shrine Bowl team, also coached at Raleigh’s Broughton High, where he won a state championship in 1961 and the Eastern regional championship in ’66. He became an assistant football coach at UNC Chapel Hill in 1967. He was associate athletics director at North Carolina (1972-73) and athletics director at Kansas (1973-77) and Charlotte (1977-85). Walker died in Charlotte in 2005 at age 75.

Civil rights advocates

On Nov. 22, 1965, the homes of Julius Chambers, Fred Alexander, Kelly Alexander and Dr. Reginald Hawkins were bombed. The crimes remain unsolved. All four were involved in the Shrine Bowl lawsuit, which eventually integrated the game.

Julius Chambers

Chambers was involved in more than 50 civil rights lawsuits as a lawyer in 1965, including the landmark Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case that integrated public schools. He has been an advocate of civil rights, voting rights and workers rights. He also was chancellor at N.C. Central University from 1993-2001. He is a partner at Ferguson, Stein, Chambers and Sumter law firm in Charlotte and Chapel Hill. He has argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court eight times and won every case. Now 74, he was named the Charlotte Chamber’s Citizen of the Carolinas in 2012.

Kelly Alexander

Kelly Alexander Sr. (pictured right) was elected president of the N.C. NAACP in 1948, a position he held until 1984. Under Alexander’s leadership, the chapter became the biggest in the country with more than 30,000 members. Alexander was named chairman of the national NAACP’s board of directors in 1984 and held that spot until he died in 1985. Alexander’s son Kelly Alexander Jr. (left) is a member of the N.C. House of Representatives and a former president of the N.C. NAACP.

Fred Alexander

Fred Alexander, the brother of Kelly Alexander, was the first African American elected to the Charlotte City Council in 1965. Among his achievements: Having a fence removed that separated white Elmwood cemetery from black Pinewood cemetery in 1968. He died in 1980.

Reginald Hawkins

Hawkins, a dentist by profession, was also an ordained Presbyterian minister. He ran for governor in 1968 and again in 1972, the first African American to run for statewide office. He died in 2007.

First blacks in Shrine Bowl

Titus Ivory

West Charlotte’s Ivory was one of the first black players in 1966. He would become a bank vice president and a fixture in Charlotte’s sports and civic communities until he died in 1998 at 49. The annual Titus L. Ivory Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament raises funds for Charlotte’s McCrorey YMCA. Two of Ivory’s sons played college basketball: Terrell at Davidson and Titus Jr. at Penn State. Terrell works in the admissions office at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts; Titus Jr. is basketball coach at Charlotte’s Hickory Grove Christian School.

Tommy Love

Sylva-Webster High’s Love also integrated the Shrine Bowl in 1966. He went to Michigan State on a football scholarship and had an outstanding sophomore season. Love suffered two knee injuries over the next two seasons, jeopardizing his football career. After rehabbing the second injury in 1971, Love died of heart attack while playing in a pick-up basketball game on the Michigan State campus. Michigan State’s most-improved player award is named in Love’s honor.

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