The Bowling Green Purples, not quite an example of “Johnny Come Lately”

The Purples have won 5 of the last 6 KHSAA 5A Sate Championships

The Purples from Bowling Green High School went 15-0 last year and beat the ever-living Hell out of every team it faced. The only team to stay in the game with them all year was the Christian County Colonels who led the game at half time in the play-offs before succumbing to the Purples 44-29. Oh well, what does one say that wasn’t perhaps best said by an English playwright named John Fletcher who, in 1624 wrote, in a play entitled A Wife for a Month, that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. During last year’s play-off battle between Christian County and Bowling Green, it wasn’t the month of March coming…in like a lion and [going] out like a lamb. So much for English playwrights. To be fair, beating the Purples for just a half last was an achievement as the Purples beat Pulaski County, from Somerset, Kentucky, in the 5A State Title game 70-20. Talk about your lambs!

Bowling Green High School first began playing football 95 years ago. In that amount of time, BGHS has amassed a 683-330-35 mark. That is averaging more than 7 wins a year over nearly a century. The Purples have won State Championships in

Dale Lindsey, All-State LB at BGHS. HC at San Diego University

1995, 2001, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Bowling Green High School has 6 undefeated seasons (1995, 1997, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016). As a bit of an oddity, in one of those undefeated seasons (1997) the Purples were not State Champions. Now before you ask why BGHS didn’t win a State Championship if they were undefeated, you should know that BGHS lost the Regional final in 1997, on the scoreboard, to the Hopkinsville High School Tigers. However, upon the KHSAA ruling HHS had used an ineligible player, HHS had to forfeit the game; thus making the 1997 BGHS Purples undefeated, but not Champions.

Present HC Kevin Wallace has been at the helm for 5 of the Purples 6 State Championships and has been runner-up an additional three times. Wallace is number one at BGHS in career coaching wins. Coach Wallace, who was on Dan Haley’s staff before ascending to HC, has an overall record of 245-38 since taking the helm from the KHSAA Hall of Famer in 1996. Dan Haley steered the ship from 1984 until BGHS won the program’s first State Championship in 1995. Haley sailed into the sunset with a 119-33 overall slate, a 3-A State Championship (out of 4 divisions) in 1995, a state runner-up in 1994, and 3 regional titles. In fact, to find a HC who had a losing record at Bowling Green High School, one has to go all the way back to Jody Ellis. Coach Ellis took over in 1967 stepping down in 1971 after having gone 21-29 over five seasons. Man, it would stink to be branded the guy who couldn’t win at Bowling Green High School, wouldn’t it?

Bowling Green has won all these games emphasizing team over individual. In fact, it is hard to find a noteworthy former Purple who did very well professionally playing football. Of course, the Purples do have Dale Lindsey, who played for a time professionally and was the Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year in 2014 at San Diego University! I hope my comments aren’t seen as a knock on Coach Lindsey’s playing career. Lindsey after playing on WKU’s undefeated Tangerine Bowl team in college played in the NFL from 1965-1973 at linebacker for the Cleveland Browns (1965-72) and the New Orleans Saints (1973).

Perhaps, that’s just the point; at Bowling Green High School, it appears to be more about the name on the front of the Jersey. The individual parts may be neither ugly nor in-ordinately beautiful…but the collective is the Mona Lisa of Kentucky High School Football. For this reason, it wouldn’t be right to feature top High School Football programs in the Commonwealth of Kentucky without featuring Bowling Green High School.



About Fletcher Long 1536 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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