Write Again . . . And they were famous

Published 5:16 pm Monday, August 22, 2016

There are many athletes who have come out of Washington and Beaufort County who went on to distinguish themselves in college and beyond.

Then there were those, though not originally from these parts, who chose to live here.

Let me tell you just a bit about two such athletes.

Jack Cobb — whose nickname was “Jack Spratt” — was born in Durham in 1904. He went on to Carolina where he achieved much acclaim as a basketball player.

He led the Tar Heels to an undefeated season in 1924, in which the team won 19 straight games, then took four more in the Southern Conference tournament.

In ’25 the Heels were 18-5, and in ’26, 20-5, as they had a 61-10 won-lost record over Cobb’s three years.

At 6’2” he was a big man for his day. He won All Southern and All American honors all three years, and in 1926 was named Helms Foundation “Player of the Year.” He is a member of the Foundation’s Hall of Fame.

He died in Greenville in 1966 at age 62.

But what about his local connection, you ask. He lived in Washington Park in the 1950’s. Right on River Road.

And shame on you, Tar Heels fans, if you didn’t know about Jack “Spratt” Cobb!

Continuing with UNC luminaries, have you ever heard of Galen Elliott? Probably not.

Well, now, let me — as I did for the Jack Cobb piece — quote from Charlie Harville’s “Sports in North Carolina” book.

“Galen Elliott of Little Washington became ‘The Dixie Flyer’ in 1926, when his 4:21.2 mile was the fastest of the season, and he also competed in the 600 yard run, the six mile, and cross country.”

Two names, two exceptional athletes, who have been largely forgotten by just about all but the most dedicated Tar Heels sports enthusiasts.

Of course, I didn’t know “The Dixie Flyer,” but I do remember “Jack Spratt,” who lived very close to us.

Isn’t it nice to wander a bit through the mists of memories of days gone by.