Stories abound at Boney Matthews Fieldhouse closing
By Zach West
I must admit, I got a little carried away at Friday night’s send-off to historic Boney Matthews Fieldhouse in Purcell. With so many old-timers, former players and coaching legends around, I ended up chatting with way more people than I needed to for the story I had to write. Because of this, I decided to put a couple of the good tales I heard here on the blog.
Former Lindsay coach Charlie Heatly provided the first laughs of the night as he presented the game ball before the girls game. Heatly is a legend in his own right in girls basketball, with around 640 wins, 14 state tournaments, and 2 titles in 28 years at Linsday. Between 1964 and 1971, however, Heatly also coached the Lindsay boys team – meaning he matched up directly with Boney Matthews’ Purcell squad around 15 times.
As Heatly tells it, it’s around ’68 or ’69, and his Lindsay squad is soundly beating Purcell late in one game. All of the sudden, Boney appears directly behind him.
“Scoot over,” Boney says. “I’m not doing no good down there on my bench.”
So Boney – the Purcell head coach, mind you – plops down on the Lindsay bench and stays there for the last couple of minutes.
“He just sat there,” Heatly recalls, laughing. “The Purcell players didn’t know where to go for the rest of the game. During time-outs, they couldn’t figure out if they should come to our bench or stay at theirs.”
I was lucky enough to stumble across 74-year-old Grant Frankenberg, a 1951 Purcell graduate, as the evening progressed. Frankenberg played on Boney’s first state championship team, and he also played alongside and graduated with Purcell’s most renowned basketball player, Lester Lane.
(For a quick history lesson, after winning the state title at Purcell, Lane went on to become an All-American at OU, and was a starting guard on the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medalist basketball team. Some of his teammates? Just a couple guys named Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jerry West)
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