Memories of Blocker from a ('64): CJ64-The assistant coach for everything was Bill Blocker, an emotional, outgoing sort of guy who tended to fat, had squinty eyes, a very upturned nose, and was naturally nicknamed “Piggy” (but never to his face!). Coach Blocker was a UT graduate and had been the manager and part-time player for the UT baseball national champions of 1950. He became the head coach in our 9th grade when Mr. Morrow took over as principal.
He was famous for giving out nicknames to his players. For example, Al Lewis became Alkali, Ted Moberg was Titty-rump, Roby Morris was Robo, I was “Johnny” (but I think because he couldn’t remember my name and probably thought it was Johnny), and so forth. When we were seniors at Eastern Hills, Al and Ted came out as co-captains for the coin toss against Poly High. The referee was none other than Coach Blocker, and he greeted them with “Alkali, Titty-rump, how you boys doin’?” -- much to the consternation of the Poly captains.
I played third-string center for him. In 9th grade I weighed about 120 pounds and was about 5’4”, and I wasn’t very fast or very good. Years later my wife and I went down to Austin to see Texas Tech play Texas. We checked into the old Alamo Hotel before the game and there in the lobby was Coach Blocker. By this time I was 6’2” and weighed about 185. I introduced myself, and very much to my surprise, he beamed and said “Johnny, you played center for me!” I was stunned that he could remember a very non-memorable player, but that is the kind of guy he was. Unfortunately, he died young not too many years after that from a heart attack.
The Target back to school ad below is a pretty good illustration of how I recall Coach Blocker...a kind of drill sergeant in PE whites. He was a conspicuous figure and yes, we climbed that damned rope to the top of the gym ceiling, maybe 30-ft up, a lot. Little, strong guys like Glen Brandon were best at it...for bigger guys it was tougher--more to haul up there..