The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

October 14, 2012

Letters to the Editor 10/14/12



Gordon Niessen


Put Provience in HOF

Dear Editor:

Coach H.B. Provience was the winningest coach in Trinity High School history. Trinity was the only high school for blacks in Limestone County for 105 years and for 21 of those years coach Provience was the head football, basketball, baseball and track coach.

Since coach is not around to defend his record, I talked to a group of people who are very knowledgeable about his accomplishments, his players. To a man they all agreed that he should be in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.

“Not only was Coach Provience a very good coach he was also a good man in the classroom. He taught History and expected his students to be prepared when they walked into his classroom. If you weren’t prepared he acted as if you had let him down as well as yourself,” said Arthur “Redbone” Kirby, who played football for Provience and is a member of the inaugural class of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.

Education was very important to Provience; it was so important that in order to set a good example for his players he pursued a master’s degree while teaching and coaching. After years of study he became one of the first black coaches and maybe one of the first coaches in North Alabama to obtain a master’s degree.

   “He was a very good coach and he was all we had. He was also a great man,” said Louis Coger who played football for Provience and is a member of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Provience was certainly all Trinity had. For many years he was the line coach, backfield coach, offensive coordinator, linebacker coach, defensive secondary coach and defensive coordinator as well as head coach. He was also the offensive and defensive coach in the other sports.

“Provience was a good basketball coach. He was about like he was in football, a strict disciplinarian who knew the game,” said Ronnie Fletcher, who played basketball for coach Provience and is a member of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. During Fletcher’s senior year he scored 50 or more points in six games (they did not have a three-point shot) and Provience led his team to the district playoff.

If Provience was good enough to coach these three into the Hall of Fame then the obvious question is, why isn’t he in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame?

“Coach had his ways, but when it came down to business he was a good coach who knew the game and expected you to always play hard and play to win,” said Larry Howell, who played baseball for Provience for four years.

Good teacher. Good coach. Strict disciplinarian. Expected you to play to win. Great man. All accolades that say Coach Provience should be in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.

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