I’ll be thinking a lot about Craig Bowers this weekend during the ninth annual Craig Bowers Monster Ball Memorial Golf Tournament at Webb Hill Country Club.
Bowers received the nickname “Monster” while he was competing in athletics at the Greenville Middle School. He wasn’t called Monster for his size because he certainly wasn’t a big guy but instead for his big heart and how hard he competed, no matter the sport. He excelled at basketball, baseball and golf.
Pat Brown, one of the Greenville Middle School coaches, called him “Monster” when calling in the results of a ball game and I latched on to the nickname, using it in stories when Craig was mentioned, all the way up through high school.
“He was a super competitor, a good ball handler,” said Gene Robbins, Bowers’ former basketball coach with the Greenville Lions after Bowers’ death in 2012 in a skiing accident. “He could shoot the ball and he would do exactly what you told him to do. If there ever was an all-American kid it was Craig Bowers.”
Bowers went on to become an assistant basketball coach for the Greenville Lions and then was an assistant principal at Royse City High School. Royse City honors the memory of Bowers each year by naming a basketball tournament after him.
Robbins, who was also a head basketball coach at North Texas and an assistant at Kansas State, died last year at the age of 87. He was also an intense guy. who was fun-loving. Probably the perfect coach for Monster.
It was great to see and photograph The Blandelles on the concert stage at the Texan Theater in Greenville on Wednesday for Friendlee LIVE! That was the first performance by the Blandelles since February, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gary Felmet and John Kent, two basketball coaches, started the rock ‘n roll oldies band 35 years ago on a lark to perform at a Bland athletic banquet. The band’s been performing ever since with a variety of musicians.
I wrote about Felmet for the current “Greenville Life” magazine, which is available at numerous locations around Greenville. Felmetwas quite a competitor back in the day at Leonard.
Singer Greg Connelly also has ties to athletics. He’s the golf coach at Leonard High School and a former sports editor at The Paris News. His brother Brad Connelly is the superintendent of the Celeste ISD. Both Connellys are from Trenton.
I was pulling for golfer Abraham Ancer to do well at last week’s RBC Heritage golf tournament, where he finished second by a stroke to Webb Simpson, a father of five on Father’s Day. Ancer hit all 18 greens in regulation on the final day at the Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Had Ancer sank just two more makeable putts, he’d have won the tournament.
Ancer was born in McAllen, Texas. He spent most of his early years in Reynosa, Mexico but went to high school at Mission Sharyland, finishing tied for 17th and 21st in two trips to the University Interscholastic State golf tournament. Then he won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the national junior college player of the year at Odessa College.
Ancer finished a fine collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma and now lives in San Antonio.
I had to pull for Ancer. My late mother Thelma Ruth grew up in Mission and my father Bill worked 42 years for Mobil. Ancer wears a Mobil logo on his cap.
David Claybourn is sports editor of the Herald-Banner.