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Alum chronicles Eagles' story from cow pasture to present day

Author Bill Traughber signs a copy of his new book for Jim Shaub, a fellow 'Cow Pasture Boy' at Thursday night's BA-Ensworth game.

Original 'cow pasture boy' pens impressive tome
Brentwood Home Page
Forty years of Brentwood Academy football has been condensed into 271 pages.

Author Bill Traughber, a member of famed BA football coach Carlton Flatt’s first team of  “cow pasture boys,” has researched, written and just published Brentwood Academy Football, From a Cow Pasture to a Tradition 1970-2009.

The project started about four years ago with a search for game film from Traughber’s playing days, the Brentwood writer and sports historian said. After several false starts, he struck gold. For almost 20 years, the film canisters had sat atop cabinets in a BA maintenance room -- “actually, it was our original locker room,” he said. With the help of LuLu Clark, also a BA alum and the school’s giving director, the film was transferred to DVD and a Cow Pasture Boys reunion was held in 2007.

Shared stories and memories flowed freely when seven of the original 10 players attended the reunion. “I thought to myself, “I need to write this down while we’re still alive,’” Traughber said. “It just evolved from that.”

Four of these players were part of the school’s first state championship in 1974.


“A Cow Pasture Boy is one of only 10 players from the original Brentwood Academy football team who continued on and graduated. … They finished that inaugural season of 1970 practicing in a cow pasture across from the school on Granny White Pike…

Cluttered with cows, a pond and things these animals leave in a field, the Cow Pasture Boys survived this environment without hesitation to achieve their goal of learning to play football at a new school.


After the reunion, Traughber really began digging into BA’s football history with the idea to pull it all together into a book. It’s been a labor of love ever since.

Readers will find lots of interesting Eagle trivia, who have compiled an all-time record of 406-90-3 through 2009. Add this season’s perfect 6-0 record and the numbers are even more impressive.
Here’s just a sampling:

BA has won 10 state championships, in a record 24 appearances;

The MacIntyre brothers, Mike ’84 and Matt ’88, are sons of former Vanderbilt Head Coach George MacIntyre (1979-85);

The original goal posts at the BA football field were set before the first home game in 1972. They were replaced during the 2009 season after standing for nearly 38 seasons.

Gordon Kennedy ’78 is the only former player to win a Grammy. In fact, he’s won two.

68 sets of brothers have played for BA through the 2009 season. This includes a pair of twins.

Several Eagles have played in the NFL: Kent Austin ’81, Bubba Miller ’91, Trenayne Allen ’92, Scott Wells ’99 and King Dunlap ’03. Austin, Wells and Dunlap were all NFL draftees.

Three former BA cheerleaders had sons who played football at the school: Debbie Butler Ballard, Lulu Clark and Anne Adams Edmonds.

The book contains nine pages of similar tidbits. It also features all-time game results, team pictures through 2009, and a complete list of players.

But at its heart, “this really is a story book,” said Traughber, whose first book, Nashville Sports History, Stories from the Stands (The History Press, 128 pp, $19.99) was published last year.

Those “story” chapters cover a wide range of topics.

The one on Flatt includes a thorough, and candid first-person account of his long tenure at the school, including insight on the school’s 1997 season in which the Eagles were declared ineligible by the TSSAA, his retirement, and eventual return from it. It also includes a Q&A with the coach, who held the title of Tennessee’s all-time winning high school coach until Sept. 23 of this year, when Ken Netherland got his 356th victory as head coach of Memphis’ St. George Academy’s Gryphons. The chapter ends with former players contributing with their favorite Coach Flatt memories.

Other chapter titles include: Brentwood Academy in the NFL; Gordon Kennedy ’78 and “Tough as Nails”; Brentwood Academy Journeys to Alaska; and Arnold Huskey, the Gentry Brothers, and Ray Dalton.

Traughber conducted numerous interviews for the project, including former headmaster Bill Brown who founded the school in 1969 and retired three decades later; assistant coaches Arnold Huskey, Marlin Keel, Tim Chilcutt, Jimmy Gentry, Ray Dalton, and Bobby Gentry; and current Head Coach Ralph Potter. Songwriter Kennedy also explains the lyrics to his song about Coach Flatt, “Tough As Nails.”

Traughber’s research also discovered another win for Coach Flatt, one that the TSSAA acknowledged and included in an eventual official record revision. It stemmed from a Bellevue forfeit to BA in 1980 that had not been credited as a win.

“The reason I did that, my senior year we had a 9-2 record but had to forfeit eight games because we had an ineligible player,” Traughber said.

The year was 1972. Two months into the season BA discovered a seldom-used freshman was ineligible. Traughber explains that when the student enrolled as a freshman transfer, BA administrators incorrectly assumed that a student’s athletic eligibility begins when his academic record starts at the school.

That misunderstanding might that Traughber had to write that BA was 1-10 that year, and he did.

The author said he really tried to be fair when working on the book and compiling all the information, but admits “it’s slanted toward Brentwood Academy.”

Given the topic and his close relationship with the program, it’s doubtful anyone would expect anything less.

The new book is self-published and sells for $40 (tax included). It can be purchased at the Brentwood Academy bookstore during the hours 7:15-8:15 am and 11:00 am-12:30 pm Monday-Friday. To order by mail go to www.brentwoodacademy.com and find the link on the alumni site under events and activities. Books can be purchased at all BA home football games 30 minutes before kickoff through halftime and will be available at the Brentwood Academy Street Market at the school on Oct. 7.

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