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Bulldogs in his blood: Bruce Blasingame's support of THS continues over local airwaves

Bruce Blasingame will tell you real quick that he's a Thomson Bulldog through and through.

Because he is and always will be, he's always been willing to do whatever he could do to promote the football program at Thomson High School.

Mr. Blasingame's relationship began a long time ago - more than 50 years ago. It was then that he became head football coach at Thomson High School - a job he held during both the 1957 and 1958 seasons. He first came to Thomson in 1953 from Rabun County and had intended on staying here for just a couple of years.

"Coaching football at Thomson High School was a job I loved, but it didn't pay much, recalled Mr. Blasingame during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror. "I left the job of coaching in 1959 to make more money to support my family by becoming a principal."

While serving as football coach at Thomson High School, Mr. Blasingame also served as boys' varsity basketball and baseball head coach.

"Back then, we only had two coaches at the school," said Mr. Blasingame. "Assisting me was Jim Ollis, who lives in North Carolina today. The school system hired another coach, Bill Small, in 1958 to help us with football."

Even after Mr. Blasingame got out of the coaching circles and worked fulltime as an administrator within the McDuffie County School System, he always has been a big supporter of the Thomson High School Bulldogs' football program.

"It's really grown on me over the years," admitted Mr. Blasingame. "It's a great high school football program. I have many fond memories over the years."

One of his fondest came when the Bulldogs won the school's first-ever state football championship. It happened back in 1967 - 40 years ago this year.

"It was a real special time in the history of the Thomson High School Bulldogs - that's for sure," said Mr. Blasingame, who served as the play-by-play announcer over WTWA - the radio station in Thomson that broadcasted the football games back then.

The late Chuck Haley, who worked at National Homes in Thomson, helped provide color commentating during the broadcast of the state championship football game from Carrolton.

He remembers the starting quarterback that year being Ray Guy, who had to sit out the first half of the championship game against Westminister because of a broken hand, which was wrapped in a hard cast. Mr. Blasingame also remembers how the Bulldogs reacted and responded when Mr. Guy started the second half.

"When they put Ray in, that changed the whole attitude of the team," said Mr. Blasingame. "I remember Andy Knox making several catches in the second half for Thomson and players like Johnny "Mac" McCarty and Dan Cox making great plays, too."

He pointed out that Mr. Guy "was a natural, God-given talented athlete."

Mr. Guy also was highly-talented in baseball. He went on to become one of the greatest punters in college football history and later as a punter for the Oakland Raiders and L.A. Raiders for 14 years.

The Thomson High School Bulldogs went on to defeat Westminister 20-0 for their first state title. The school since has won four other state titles - the last one coming in 2002.

"It was a great time to be a Thomson High School Bulldog supporter back then," said Mr. Blasingame.

Since then, Mr. Blasingame has attended many football games at Thomson High School - both at home and on the road.

In addition, he also has remained active in many other ways supporting the Bulldogs. One such way is as the host of a radio show called "The Head Coach's Show," which airs weekly on WTHO-FM in Thomson, just before each Thomson football game gets underway.

"It's something I've enjoyed doing for several years," said Mr. Blasingame, who served as principal at several schools in McDuffie County, including Thomson High School. "I hope it brings out a little something about the upcoming game that people want to know."

He generally tapes his interview with Thomson Head Coach Luther Welsh on Friday morning. It airs that night, just before Dennis Sanders and Ralph Starling report live - either from The Brickyard or on the road.

"I enjoy talking with Coach Welsh about the games," said Mr. Blasingame. "I hope we bring out a few things about the upcoming game that will be interesting to those who listen to the broadcast."

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Web posted on Thursday, September 06, 2007













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