A Look Back: Vernon Parish

The following story is from a 2021 Interview with Coach Bullock by Billy Crawford

Coach Bullock was born and grew up on a farm near Tylertown, Mississippi. He played football and graduated from a small rural school, Progress High School. Then, he attended Southwest Community Junior College in Summit for two years on a football scholarship. In 1954 he attended Louisiana College on a football scholarship. In those days players went both ways. He was a guard on offense and linebacker on defense.  He majored in P.E. and minored in Biology.

Coach Bullock remembered, “In 1956 I went to Leesville High School on my first teaching assignment teaching biology and coaching football. The school was ‘on the hill.’ The football teamed practiced on Gilbert Field.”

My wife Sandra was teaching at Anacoco. Coach Dalton Faircloth had just come over from Texas as the head coach. He had coached at Texas A&M. Coach Ted Paris, a Leesville native who played for LSU, and I were assistant coaches. The first year we won one game. The second year we were 6-4 and the third year we were 8-2. The class of 1964 won the district championship.

In 1961 Fort Polk reopened and we had some really good kids coming in to mix with the local kids. It was a real asset for LHS. I know the business community was also excited.

About this time we started a track team and I coached track. We had a miler named Mike Wheatley who inspired others to run track. In 1965 I started coaching Cross Country. The very first meet we easily won with Geoff Whilhelmy leading the field.

Those were some good years. I have every school yearbook from Leesville. Quite often I will go back and pick one up and start thumbing through it. There are a lot of people I have respect for. Lots of good students. It was a really good school for academics. I was always grateful for my years there.”

In 1966 we moved to Baker just north of Baton Rouge. Mainly we chose because it was only 80 miles for where I was raised. I was teaching Biology but did not coach there. Later I became the Assistant Principal and stayed there until I retired.

We also have 180 acres in Mississippi. Years ago we raised beef cattle and we spent weekends up there. On Saturday mornings I was on a tractor—I was always a little country at heart. In 1987; when I retired, I sold all the cows. Now I have pine trees—they don’t get out of the fence. And it has been a pretty good investment. Every 12 or so years I thin the timber.  At age 82 I just go out there and stand in the highway and listen for those pine trees grow!”

Coach Richie Bullock
August 8, 1935-July 22, 2023