That work ethic helped him earn two varsity letters on the offensive line at Marietta High School and start four years at Valdosta State. Now, he’s teaching that lesson to his students at Westlake High School in Atlanta.
King, a 1998 graduate, was one of five individuals inducted Friday into the Marietta City Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.
He joined Ed Baskin, David Chambless, Sarah Trew, Bill Kinney and the 1948 state championship boys track and field team in the class of 2013. The 10th induction class brought the number of inductees to 68 individuals and 14 teams.
King, a three-time all-Gulf South Conference honoree and a former Division II All-American during his time at Valdosta State, gave particular thanks to former Marietta coach James “Friday” Richards for helping him make his dream of playing college football come true.
It wasn’t exactly as King had planned it, however.
“In my one-on-one meeting with coach Richards before my senior year, I told him I wanted to play for the University of Michigan,” said King, who teaches special education and math at Westlake, while also coaching the Lions’ offensive line. “I was 6-foot, 250 pounds and he gave me a look like, ‘Bless this child,’ but it was also, ‘This boy must be crazy.’”
Trew, a 2001 graduate who played golf, was a four-year letter-winner and the individual state runner-up in 2000. Trew went on to play collegiately at Georgia and Arkansas, and she’s now the women’s golf coach at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Trew credited former Marietta golf coach Rus Rainey as a big influence on her career, and she said her time at the school was invaluable.
“It’s one of my finest memories,” Trew said. “It shaped the person I am today.”
Chambless was a three-sport letterman for the Blue Devils in cross country, wrestling and track and field before graduating in 1994. He won region championships in wrestling at 145 pounds and in track at the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.
Chambless’ success on the track led to a scholarship at Western Carolina University, where he was an all-Southern Conference athlete.
“Being a student-athlete at Marietta High School is the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” said Chambless, who owns Bella Vista, a corporate window-washing business in Highlands, N.C.
Baskin was a four-sport letter-winner in football, basketball, baseball and track before graduating in 1948. He was the 1947 North Georgia Interscholastic Conference champion in the shot put and went on to captain of the Georgia Tech track team and win the 1952 Southeastern Conference championship in the javelin.
Baskin, who died in 2010, was represented Friday by his son, Ted.
Ted Baskin said that while he was growing up, he didn’t know much about his father’s athletic accolades, but he, his family and the other children in the neighborhood all marveled at the things the elder Baskin could do, and it brought a great sense of pride.
“We would all gather in the front yard,” Ted Baskin said. “He would punt a football from the back yard, over the roof of the house, and you would see it land in the front yard of the house across the street.”
Before he even graduated from Marietta in 1941, Kinney began his long association with newspapers — one that would span parts of nine decades, until his retirement as the Journal’s associate editor this spring.
In 1938, Kinney was hired by Otis A. Brumby Sr. — publisher of the weekly Cobb County Times, which later purchased the Journal — to cover Marietta High School sports. He then parlayed that into a 75-year journalism career.
But Kinney wasn’t just a newspaper man. He was also a three-year letter-winner as a second baseman for the Blue Devils’ baseball team.
Kinney was also a driving force behind the creation of the Marietta City Schools Athletic Hall of Fame, and he earned the Marietta City Schools Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988.
Kinney was inducted into the hall as a contributor.
“It’s a great honor,” he said of being a member of the hall. “This is as high an honor of any I’ve ever had.”
Eight of the 17 members on the 1948 state championship boys track team — George Bishop, William Garner, Sam Hensley, Julian LeRoy, A.D. Little, Ben Northcutt, Joe Ed Smith and John Tate — were on hand for Friday’s ceremony.
Tate, who spoke on the group’s behalf, said the tone coach James “Red” Pressley set for the team was made not on the track, but in the football locker room before the start of fall practice.
Pressley, at the time, also served as Marietta’s football coach.
“He came in and looked at us and said, ‘There are no stars on this team. Let’s get that straight right now,’” Tate said.
That message carried over to the track team, Tate remembered, and it was proven to be a success, because not everyone could win. But sometimes, the second- and third-place marks were enough to help the team finish first.
“We had people on the team that were willing to compete and place to help us win a track meet,” Tate said. “We went the entire season without losing a dual meet. And when we went to Grant Field (for the state championships), we cleaned up.”
Other members of the 1948 track team included Richard Anderson, Ed Baskin, Wayne Bishop, Tommy Brown, Jack Bentley, Larry Johnson, Bobby Underwood, Robert West and manager Don Keenum.