Welcome to Sallisaw Football and Founders
This collection of Black Diamond Football memories is part of the Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library’s project to collect local history memories. We know that this is only a small part of the communities’ love and support of students and ask that anyone desiring to add to the story to contact the Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library.
We wish to thank Sequoyah County Historian Earl Strebeck for sharing much of the early information and clippings from the Sequoyah County Museum. We also wish to thank Coach Stanley Collins, Jack Wofford, Bill Orendorf, Larry Cantrell, Jim Lessley, Bill Weedon, Tom Stites, Joe Davis, Patsy Davis, Louis Walkingstick, Craig Benson, Virgil Terry, Dennis Rogers, and Ron Etheridge for allowing us to record their memories.
Special thanks to those who helped organize this event including: Debbie Phillips, Perrie Beth Weedon, Carrol Copeland, Linda Copeland, Phillip Gay, Pamela Gay, Nan Stites, Amy Barrett, Roy Fine, Jerree Welch Phillips, and Larry Cantrell.
Sallisaw Black Diamond Football History
Sallisaw High School organized in 1904 with the first graduating class in 1908. Perhaps the boys played football on the school yard during those early years, but football was added to the curriculum in 1915. That was the year the school board and superintendent hired a new principal, John Homer Hudson. After he accepted the position, they announced that he would also be coaching football.
Mr. Hudson had several problems. The first being he had never played football nor even seen a game. As an educated individual, we are sure he quickly found a rule book.
A second problem was that there was no football field. He solved the second problem with the help of a young player, Quesenbury Beasley, grandson of Argyle Quesenbury who is called the Father of Sallisaw. Mr Quesenbury had a pasture located at the corner of what is now Elm and Redwood that he allowed the school to use. It became known as Quesenbury Field. The last game played there was in 1925.
The third problem was the lack of funding. Actually, the school board expected the game to fund itself with ticket sales. Since there were no fences, buying a ticket was actually making a donation. Until 1925, a hat was passed at each game to collect funds.
A fourth problem was finding schools that had teams for them to play. Hudson ultimately crossed the Oklahoma state line into Arkansas for some opponents. The first game was played in Van Buren, Arkansas. The team had no uniforms. The one unifying item of their attire was a canvas painting cap donated by Sallisaw Herrings Hardware with the logo reading “Sherwin Williams Paints Covers the World.”
According to old Sallisaw newspaper clippings, the season was 4 losses and 2 wins. The following year, they lost only one game. Four of the starters of that season went on to play varsity football in college. The love of Sallisaw footballers was here to stay. Countless families have 3 and 4 generations of Black Diamond Footballers. Some of those names include: Davis, Stites, Wheeler, Lattimore, Dixon, Benson, Fine, Green, Horn, Dooty, Dudley, Ivy, Farmer, Orendorff, Weedon, Welch, Cheek and many others.
After careful research we cannot say when the school colors became orange and black nor when the Black Diamonds became the school mascot. We can say that the Black Diamonds represented the successful coal industry in Sequoyah County during those early days. Margaret Lattimore designed the Running Black Diamond Man during the late 1960’s.