Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ches Shearer, December 13, 1974

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Happy Chandler as a coach

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Partial Transcript: This is a personal interview with Ches Shearer.

Segment Synopsis: Shearer explains how he ended up playing football at Center College under Coach Happy Chandler. Shearer then describes how Chandler was as a coach, and the circumstances that brought Chandler to Centre, as well as what prompted him to leave.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Coaches; Coaching changes; Danville High School, Danville (Ky.); Freshman coaches; Head coaches; Inspirational; Law practice; Opponents; Presidents; Records; State legislatures; Versailles High School, Versailles (Ky.)

Subjects: Analogy; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Danville (Ky.); Fathers; Football; Football players; Governors; Harvard Law School; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Mothers; Mutual friends; Rest; Scholarships; Talking; University of Kentucky; Versailles (Ky.)

00:06:46 - Chandler's persuasive nature / Chandler's loyalty

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Partial Transcript: This, uh, this indicates, uh, some kind of, uh, unusual power of persuasion on his part, uh, doesn't it?

Segment Synopsis: Shearer characterizes Chandler as very persuasive. Shearer also describes Chandler's loyalty to his former players, including a favor he did for a former player when he was a senator.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Athletes; Charismatic; Letters; Persuasive; Post offices; Salary; Senators

Subjects: Baseball; Carlisle (Ky.); Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Danville (Ky.); Employees; Football; Friendship; Governors; Kentucky; Memory; Names; Nicholas County (Ky.); Personality; Transylvania University

00:08:45 - Chandler's inspirational spirit / Centre College football teams

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Partial Transcript: Any examples of what he might say or do to impart this inspiration...

Segment Synopsis: Shearer talks of Chandler's inspirational spirit that was evident throughout his life. Shearer also reflects upon the successful football season that he had under Chandler at Centre College in the late 1920s.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; All-Americans; Backfield; Charlie horse; Commissioner of Baseball; Gerald J. Ford Stadium; Injuries; Injury; Inspirational; National championships; SMU Stadium; Scrimmage; Self-made; Southern Methodist University (SMU); Supportive; Varsity; World War II

Subjects: Baseball; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Cotton Bowl (Football game); Danville (Ky.); Football; Golf; Governors; Kentucky; Money; Northwestern University; Praise; University of Kansas; University of Tennessee; Vanderbilt University; World War, 1939-1945

00:12:57 - Chandler's habits / College football then

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Partial Transcript: Did he, did he ever use his singing, uh, in any way in, in coaching you?

Segment Synopsis: Shearer articulates some of the habits of Chandler, including his tendency to sing, and refraining from drinking, smoking, and cursing. Shearer also reflects upon the changes that have occurred to college football throughout the years. The camaraderie and familiarity between teams is found to have diminished over time.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Clean; Coaching; Community; Dances; Dinners; Fraternities; Loss; No cursing; No drinking; No smoking; Playing

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Change; Danville (Ky.); Eastern Kentucky University; Football; Governors; Referees; Running; Singing; Thanksgiving; Transylvania University; University of Kentucky; Western Kentucky University

00:16:28 - Coaches today

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Partial Transcript: I, I know there are some coaches today that have the reputation of being pretty brutal with the athletes.

Segment Synopsis: Shearer compares the coaching style of Chandler to coaches today, as well as how the game of football has changed in general.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Clean football; Dangers; Dirty playing; Injuries; Neck; Protection; Undefeated

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Changes; Comparisons; Football; Football coaches; Governors; High schools; Tackling (Football)

00:18:47 - Chandler playing golf / Chandler's work as governor

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Partial Transcript: Uh, if you've played golf with Happy, he never takes but two puts on the green.

Segment Synopsis: Shearer briefly talks of Chandler's golf abilities. Shearer also details some of the accomplishments of Chandler as governor of Kentucky, including assisting teachers with their pay concerns.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Armed Services Committee; Commissions; Funding; Jokes; KEA; Kentucky teachers; March; Minimum Foundation; Pay; Put; Wages; World War II

Subjects: Criticism; Frankfort (Ky.); Golf; Good; Governors; Kentucky Education Association; World War, 1939-1945

00:20:41 - Centre College football players / Playing against Harvard University

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Shearer, are there any other players, uh, that you know of that played under, under Happy who are still alive and that, uh, I might get in touch with?

Segment Synopsis: Shearer lists some of his former Centre College football teammates who would be available to be interviewed about Chandler. Shearer also reflects upon his classmates and how often they get together. Shearer then briefly discusses how Chandler got Harvard to play Centre in football.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Boston Train Depot; Coaches; Friends; Harvard Stadium; Scouted; Successful

Subjects: Ashland (Ky.); Boston (Mass.); Brothers; Cambridge (Mass.); Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Class reunions; Death; Eminence (Ky.); Football; Governors; Harvard Law School; Harvard University; High schools; Interviews; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Somerset (Ky.); Versailles (Ky.)

00:23:52 - Cutting Centre College football / Accomplishments at Centre College / Chandler's success

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Partial Transcript: Well, I'll say this, uh, Centre's now a small school, although they're growing.

Segment Synopsis: Shearer discusses his part in the decision of Centre College to cut its football program. Shearer then describes some of the accomplishments of Centre College football during his time as a player. Additionally, Chandler's successes as a coach and professionally following his decision to quit his law practice are examined.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; All-Americans; Committees; Cutbacks; Honorable mentions; One-way football; Outstanding citizens; Private schools; Salary; Self-made; Wife

Subjects: Bank of Kentucky; Budgets; Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Cotton Bowl (Football game); Danville (Ky.); Evanston (Ill.); Football; Football coaches; Football players; Law; Money; Northwestern University; Rest; Shriners Hospitals for Children; University of Tennessee

00:27:25 - Prayer in football / College football systems

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Partial Transcript: Did, uh, Happy resort to prayer, use prayer, uh, in coaching or at any critical points in, uh, his games or anything like that?

Segment Synopsis: Shearer recalls the role that prayer played in football during his playing days in the late 1920s, both in high school and college. Shearer shares his observation that in recent college football, teams do not have a system of plays that are associated with one team only (rather, all of the teams play the same types of systems), which was the case in the earlier days of football.

Keywords: Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler; Centre Praying Colonels; Coaching; Playbooks; Pop Warner; Pre-game prayers; Scouting; Scrimmages; Varsity

Subjects: Centre College (Danville, Ky. : 1918- ); Changes; Danville (Ky.); Football; Football coaches; Formations; High schools; Plays; Prayer; Systems; Uniforms; University of Kentucky; University of Minnesota