George GayClark Elementary School, Johnson Elementary School, Lane High School
Born in 1947, George Gay lived in Belmont and Fry’s Spring, attending both Clark and Johnson Elementary Schools. He is an avid lifelong athlete, playing football, basketball, baseball, and softball. Attending Lane High School from the 8th grade on, he was part of the football team that won the state championship when he was just a sophomore. Of coaches Joe Bingler and Tommy Theodose, he reflects: “I mean, you just respect these guys to the utmost; you’re scared to death of them. They were really like father figures; you didn’t want to disappoint them, in any way.” Sports was a means to “get to know people… get to appreciate them….You just develop friendships and everything from it.” This camaraderie included his Black teammates, some of whom he regularly drove home after practice. He also reflects on the community’s pride in the Lane team and at Lane football games. His description of what happened at an away game in Danville reveals the environment of racial hatred that existed in some places at the time. For him, during his high school years, sports was everything: “I was looking for a ball to play with someone.” Following high school, he went to Eastern Kentucky University, moving to VCU in Richmond after one year.