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6 decades of players take the court for Dawson County on Alumni Night
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Lady Tigers Head Coach Steve Sweat greets Clarence Denard of the class of 1950 on Alumni Night at Dawson County High School on Dec. 21. - photo by Bob Christian

Previously updated: Dec. 31, 2018, 10:45 a.m.

The Dawson County basketball program hosted Alumni Night Dec. 21, welcoming players from the 1950s all the way through last year’s team.

Twenty-four former Tigers and Lady Tigers were introduced to resounding applause between games against the Pickens County Dragons.

Familiar names and faces made up the bulk of the alumni as the crowd reacted to hometown favorites including Cullen Reed from last year’s team. Will and Carly Anglin from the class of 2013 also drew a loud cheer, as both have returned to their Alma Mater as members of the Dawson County coaching staff.

Pete Bearden represented the class of 1964, Joey Bearden represented the class of 1971 and David Bearden along with Christie Bearden were recognized as members of teams from the 1990s.

Clarence Denard donned his letterman’s jacket and trotted out onto the hardwood looking ready to play as he proudly accepted the recognition for being the oldest alumnus present, as the only member of the team from 1950 in attendance on the night.

“I remember that we used to play on a dirt court, in the mud,”  Denard said. “Cumming High School (now Forsyth) would sometimes let us use their court, but that was the only time we practiced indoors.”

Denard went on to talk about the Tigers’ first basketball court, which opened for play towards the end of his senior year.

“There were only four of five games left to go and the building was all ready except for the goals. Two guys from Gainesville had to come hang the nets,” Denard said. “Dawson County was littered with beer joints at the time and the two stopped along the way, got drunk, and couldn’t come before the next game. We had waited three and a half years only to be delayed for another week.”

After his time as a player, Denard went on to coach boys’ basketball for Braselton High School for one year and then moved to Chestatee High School (also in Forsyth) where he coached both boys’ and girls’ teams for nine more years.

Denard had high praise for the current Dawson County Tigers.

“Both teams have got some skill,” Denard said. “The most skill we have seen in some time.”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Clarence Denard.