Leon Cock & the Meadows of Dan Basketball Champs
By Beverly Belcher Woody
Did you know that the Meadows of Dan High School basketball team was State Champions for two consecutive years? Well, neither did I, until I had a very interesting phone conversation with Leon Cock Sunday afternoon.
Leon Cock was born in Meadows of Dan, Virginia to William Taylor Cock, Sr. and Glennie Banks. His parents ran a country store called Agee & Cock General Store near where Rotometrics is now located. Leon has two siblings, Glendal, who is a year older than him, and Taylor, Jr. who passed away in 1983.
In 1950, Glendal was a senior at Meadows of Dan and Leon was a junior. Both boys played on the school basketball team. They are pictured above with their team from left to right, Front row: Mahlon Harrell, Glendal Cock, Dwight Shelor, Captain, Leon Cock, and Coy Helms. Back row: Jack Agee, Charles Yeatts, Kenneth Burnette, Claude Wood, and Rufus Wood.
Dorn Spangler was the coach in 1950 and Meadows of Dan defeated Critz to earn their spot at the state championships for Class C schools. The competition was held at the University of Virginia and the team got to stay overnight on the campus.
Meadows of Dan first came up against Temperance and slaughtered the team 75-11 and then went on to beat Wallace for the state championship 46-25. It was a very exciting time for the little mountain community!
In 1951, Mr. Spangler became Superintendent of Public Schools for Patrick County and Sammy Cox took over as coach for the championship team. The 1951 team pictured above consisted of, from left to right, Bill Harrell, Mahlon Harrell, Rufus Wood, Claude Wood, and Leon Cock. Pictured on the back row is Coach Sammy Cox, Wayne Hubbard, Esmond Hall, Kenneth Cruise, John Shelor, and Manager Jimmy Yeatts.
1951 was equally successful as the Meadows of Dan team defeated Stuart to move on to the state championship. The competition was held at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington which was especially exciting for the Cock family. After Glendal graduated from Meadows of Dan in 1950, he had gone on to VMI to earn a degree in electrical engineering. He was able to cheer his little brother on as the team battled for their second state championship.
Meadows of Dan first defeated Cluster Springs, 61-38, then met Temperance and crushed them again, this time 53-19. Their last match was Boydton, who they trounced 68-27!
Upon graduating in 1951, Leon Cock followed his brother Glendal to VMI and earned a degree in civil engineering. After graduation, Leon joined the United States Air Force and trained to be a jet pilot. After earning his wings, he was transferred to Oklahoma where he was a flight instructor.
Leon married his Oklahoma sweetheart and began a long career at ALCOA aluminum in marketing and sales, living in twelve different states, including Florida and Nevada before settling in Denton, Texas. Leon said that he and his wife have been blessed to travel to many places, including every state in the union. He said that no matter where he goes, Patrick County is the most beautiful of all.
Thank you, Leon, for sharing your wonderful memories and to Betty Lou Banks and LaNita Harris for the photographs.
(Woody may be reached at email@example.com.)