It Was 1973 “When Hoops Were King at Guilford College, and in The Carolinas Conference”
(I was there, I remember it all, back when the Guilford College Quakers were the King of Local College Basketball, and the Quakers were also the “Kings of the Carolinas Conference”…People would ask you at high school on Monday morning, “what did you do back on Saturday night”, and you didn’t spend a large allotment of your Saturday nights at the Muirs Chapel Curb Market, many of the Saturday evenings, you were busy climbing through the window to get inside the locker room, so you could get upstairs, and flip on the lights, and start playing pickup basketball, right there on the Guilford College Alumni Gym floor, and you could get in several pickup games, before the campus security guard would show up, and throw you out of the old ‘Crackerbox Gymnasium”.)
Some very good games up there on those Saturday evenings, with Bobby Hanna showing up, after he got off of work, over at the Raines Bi-Rite, I remember Davey and Mike Welborn being good climbers when it came to getting through that locker room window, we often times we had Ricky Hensill, Ronnie Jump, and others crawl through for some 2 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 4, or maybe even a little bit of full court basketball action…
With the news stirring around town this weekend, about the Guilford College Quakers basketball team of 1973, I thought it might be a good idea, to bring some of those past parts of the Guilford College basketball lore and legacy, into focus….
Over at our Western Guilford High School, about a mile away from the Guilford College Quakers campus, as the crow flies; we had at WG, M.L. Carr as a student teacher in Mrs. Worry’s english class, we had Lloyd Free, later known as World B. Free, he was doing student teaching and observation, in Coach Henderson’s PE classes, and Ray Massengill was hanging around, and he was there for Coach Henderson’s physical education classes also…Not sure if Ray was doing this for college credit, or if he was just hanging around, but I know Mark Guenther used to call Ray Massengill, “Biggy Mass” and if there ever was a name that fit, that one was it…Ray was right at 6’10, or maybe even 6’11…We would call M.L. Carr, “Momma’s Little Carr”, and he had a drive about him, that could not be stopped…After Guilford, M.L. took that drive all the way to the Boston Celtics, and he won NBA titles with Larry Bird, Cornbread Maxwell, and the Boston Bunch…
We considered the Guilford College men’s basketball team, as being royalty back in those old days…Our sixth grade teacher, Miss Smith, used to let us listen to the Guilford games, when they would travel to Kansas City, and play in the NAIA National Basketball Tournament…Tom Wall and Carl Scherr called the games on the old 1320 WCOG radio station back in those days, and the Quakers had a very large following and listening audience…Western Guilford High School sent two of its top basketball players to Guilford College, in Robert Kent and Johnny Ralls…They learned much of their basketball knowledge from Coach Allen/Hoyt/Casey Jones and from Coach John Brooks at Western Guilford, and then they were able to take their games to a whole different level, when they ended up at Guilford College, with Coach Jack Jensen….
Many great memories of those old Guilford College Quakers basketball days, and looking back at the old Carolinas Conference basketball league as a whole, is like taking a journey/trip down memory lane…
Let’s take a “Distance Rewind”, and look back at piece I did as one of my first-ever posts here at GreensboroSports.com, and at the end of this journey, I will add in an obituary for John Bert Feik, and not exactly sure that this is the same Bert Feik, who played for the Guilford College Quakers, back in the day, but if not, it looks like it comes pretty close…Here you are, with a look back at Free, Kent, Ralls, and Carr; and even more, from the old days at Guilford College, and from the Carolinas Conference….
from Andy Durham, at GreensboroSports.com just 18 years ago, on January 4, 2006…One of the first posts I published here on the website….
The Guilford College Quakers Were Your NAIA National Basketball Champions
Life was good back in 1973 when 1320 WCOG radio used to carry all of the Guilford College Quakers’ basketball games. It was fun to listen to Tom Wall call those games back in the late 60’s and early 70’s and it was a time when the Carolinas Conference had some of the top players in the nation, and many of those young men played for Jack Jensen and Jerry Steele right here in Greensboro, out on West Friendly Avenue and New Garden Road, at the Quaker campus.
Guilford won it all back in 1973, and the team was made up of guys that just about everybody around here knew. When we say around here, we mean those who followed hoops in the Gate City. The Guilford players were very well known, and that ’73 team was what many considered the best ever. The ’73 Quaker club could compete with many teams from the ACC.
I stopped by the Guilford gym the other day and before I went in I had already written down all of the ’73 players that I could remember and I had only forgotten one name. That goes to show you how closely we all tracked that team back in the 70’s. You had World B. (Lloyd) Free who played for several NBA teams, including the world champion 76’s, there was ML Carr, who was later on the General Manager and coach of the Celtics after his NBA playing days were over, Greg Jackson who made it to the NBA, you had Robert Kent who now coaches the boys at Page H.S., Johnny Ralls who is the girls coach at Ledford, (Ralls and Kent were both graduates of Western Guilford, Carr came from Wallace-Rose Hill H.S., and Free was from New York), Guilford had the bean pole center Ray Massengill 6’10 and 170 lbs., the former Marine Steve Hankins was around 28 years old, and Hankins coached at Ragsdale, Dudley, and at Page High School, and was an assistant coach at Northeast HS, and they say Hankins was a pallbearer at JFK’s funeral, on the Quaker team was Robert Fulton who coached at Guilford and at Glenn H.S., Guilford had a young guard Teddy East, who was as slick as they come, and of course there was Greg Speas who played at Grimsley, and later became a local painter.
The 1973 Quakers won the NAIA title, and like I was saying earlier I was able to remember 9 of the 10 team members(they only dressed ten guys) and it just goes to show you how much impact this Jack Jensen coached team had here locally. Jensen still coaches golf at Guilford and former coach Jerry Steele is still in the area. Man those Quakers were good…… But even with the achievements of the 1973 team, Guilford always ruled the local basketball world throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Guilford players, and the Carolinas Conference players in general, could compete with the ACC. The two leagues would go at it in barn storming all-star games after their seasons were complete, and the Carolinas Conference would come out on top, say 3 games-to-2, in the best-of-five state-wide series. The ACC boys couldn’t hang with us back then, and Guilford would always have at least 2 players on the News and Record All-State college team, which included ACC schools.
The Carolinas Conference had talents such as Henry Logan, 3-time NAIA All-American from Western Carolina College, Gene Littles, All-American from High Point College, Tommy Cole from Elon College, Dwight Durante form Catawba, and from the NAIA local area, there was Earl Monroe from Winston Salem State. The conference and our local landscape was loaded with stars.
It’s fun to look back on the past seasons and talk about how things were so great back when Guilford had those glory years. We mentioned the 1973 run in detail, but Guilford’s greatest talent ever, did not play on that ’73 squad. David Smith was NAIA All-American in 1971 and 1972, but David didn’t make it to 1973. David was probably the toughest player to come out of Guilford, even tougher than Hankins, and David’s attitude helped end his career. Smith attacked a ref in ’72 and he was banned from the league for life. Smith had talent on the level of ACC players, but it cost him his basketball future. The young man from Arat, Virginia up around Galax, never starred in hoops again.
Smith later died from some still unknown health complications, but there was always the story about the motorcycle accident too. For the all-around toughness, competitiveness, and talent there will never be another player like David Smith. “A once in lifetime talent”, was how former News and Record editor Smith Barrier, described David Smith. Smith was a better player than M.L. Carr and Lloyd Free combined.
Now you have it, some of the real life stories of Guilford College basketball, and of the old Carolinas Conference. Guilford’s talent pool was very deep and other men we should put somewhere near our Hall of Fame at Forest Valley, would have to include Bob Kauffman, who made it to the NBA and played for the Buffalo Braves, for the Knicks and the Pistons….Bert Feik, Jerry Crocker, Tom Ennis, Geoff Clark, Pat Moriarity, John Brooks, Ed Fellers, Eddy Dyer, Chris Culpepper, and from of the class of ’61 Don Lineberry, who said he had to tape his own ankles back when her wore the gray and maroon, for the Guilford College Quakers…
The Glory Days are gone but we can still help them live on, at Greensboro Sports.
**********Maybe somebody out there could let us know for sure, was this The Bert Feik, from Guilford College?????**********
JOHN FEIK OBITUARY
Feik, John Bert
March 29, 1949 – January 24, 2023
It is with a sad heart that the family of John Bert Feik of McLeansville and Greensboro, NC, announces his passing. Bert passed away on January 24, 2023, in the country of St Kitts where he spent much of his time in the later years of his life. He loved the country and the people and, as his health worsened, felt better in its year-round warm weather.
Bert was the son of John and Marjorie Feik of Greensboro, NC, both deceased. He is survived by his sister, Gail Feik Boswell of Cary, NC; his niece and her husband, Donna and Gary Gilleskie of Chapel Hill, NC; and two great-nephews, Matt and Drew Gilleskie, both of Chapel Hill, NC, with whom he had developed special relationships. He also has numerous extended family members in Georgia and Nebraska.
Bert was accomplished in his own way and lived his life accordingly. Most important to him, beyond his small family, was his relationship with his friends and the trust he shared with them. If he liked you, you knew it. If you did something he didn’t like, you also knew that. His sometimes-crude way of addressing you was a sign he liked you. His friendships meant more to him than words can express and the trust he had in those friendships showed in numerous ways. He enjoyed many good times at his “creek house.” (Only Bert would permanently mount a TV outside so that he and friends could watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune while sitting around the fire). Likewise, many memories of times with friends occurred at his “lake house,” spanning over 30+ years. These deep relationships were special to him, and the large number of devoted friends is admired by his family.
Bert’s relationship with our Lord was a private matter to him. Though not a fan of formal services (of any kind), Bert’s recent cardiac arrest solidified his belief in our one true Savior. In keeping with his dislike of formal services, a casual celebration of Bert’s life will be scheduled once he returns home from St. Kitts (TBD). We thank Forbis and Dick Funeral Home for their efforts and care in bringing him home as soon as possible. You will find updates about the Celebration of Life, when planned, on the Forbis and Dick website: forbisanddick.com. Remembrances can be made in Bert’s name to Tunnel To Towers (T2T.org) or the ASPCA (aspca.com).
++++++++++The Guilford College education website, say this was Bert Feik, from the Class of ’71, at Guilford College…++++++++++
Guilford College men’s basketball coach Jack Jensen talked to us, on January 29, 2009…
Jack Jensen is a true treasure, and I would rank him right up there with guys like Dean Smith and Bobby Knight. Coach Jensen has been at Guilford for 44 years, and he was the coach of the 1973 NAIA National Championship basketball team, that won it all out in Kansas City.
I thought I knew a lot about Quaker hoops, but I am just a bump in the road beside this man. He brought back two names that I had known, but had unfortunately forgotten, in Bo Whitaker and Bob Bregard.
He has some great stories on this interview, with the real good one about the time Guilford played Winston-Salem State, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines were down in the locker room eating a tongue sandwich, and counting the money after the game.
Coach Jensen told about the time David Smith, Bert Feik, and Jerry Crocker were forced to run suicides after a practice at Grimsley HS(the gym at Guilford was too cold to practice in during the holidays), and when the running was over, David Smith went to the Grimsley locker room, took off his clothes, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit up a smoke…….
Coach Jensen also told an interesting Herb Appenzeller story about the time when the Green Bay Packers used to practice on the Guilford College football field during the summers.