Was there ever anyone as cool as Dub Graves? With a build sporting a six-pack before some of us knew what to call it, Coach Graves was a tanned, muscular Adonis who moved about our hallways with us. Always in good humor, his attitude seemed to radiate the fact that he loved his job and his life.
And why not? Dub Graves turned 34 during our senior year and was still single, although he never seemed to lack for female company. Could anyone ever forget that fine ’56 or ’57 turquoise T-Bird convertible, often with a hot blonde seat cover? I have no idea where he lived, but I think it was on the West Side. During the summer he could sometimes be seen out on Eagle Mountain Lake working on both his wooden Chris-Craft, and on his tan. Those who saw him at our 20th reunion saw a white haired version of an older Adonis, still full of it.
As a coach, he was far and away the best athlete on the coaching staff. As a teacher of American History, I would have to venture a guess . . . not as good as Mr. Sills. Dub was also one of the P.E. teachers and if I were to venture another guess . . . he didn’t like that too much. I think he much preferred to coach the school’s athletic teams. To amuse himself during our senior year, he instituted the “Tough Tail” contest in his P.E. classes. This contest established an award of sorts, for the guy that took the most licks during a semester. I don’t know how long that went on, but was always surprised that it drew some active “competition” for the trophy.
Never did know what his "W" name was...Walter, maybe. But his middle "A" name (Anath) was always visible. However, I recall his stern warning that he would not tolerate any mispronunciation of that name. You had to think a little about that one, but soon enough you realized that he most likely had some problems along the line with others mangling it into anus...wow, Walter Anus...no wonder he stepped around that one.
He taught me an effective way to block down field by launching myself into a safety's chest. Coach Graves made it look easy, but for me it was a little more difficult...I didn't have the coiled springs in my legs he still had at age 33. He did leave me with one of his little poems, one that I remember to this day. I can't remember the cardinal dates in my family life, but I can remember that little ditty, word for word. He made one up for each guy on that '62 Highlander team and read them at the season's end banquet. How I would love to have the words to all or some of those little poems. They were styled in the same manner as Cassius Clay, then the boxing champion, was using to promote his early career. Clay later became Mohammad Ali, of course.
During the 1950’s, Dub had flirted with a professional baseball career, and had been a varsity back with the University of Tulsa football team. He was a favorite of Principal Roy Johnson from some previous school district assignment they both held, I don’t know what jobs Dub held after we left, but by the time we held our 20th reunion in 1983, he was in public relations for the teacher’s credit union. He was quite a character...an unforgettable one.