Leonard “Flash” Arndt
Leonard “Flash” Arndt is one of those rare athletes who has done it all. He played baseball, football and basketball (l937-41) at Hickory High School. Signing a contract with the Class D Newton-Conover Twins where he had a .998 fielding average at shortstop made him ineligible to play sports at Lenoir-Rhyne College. In a year of pro baseball while serving in the army, which he did proudly for almost 4 years, his most memorable experience was playing against six major league teams, including a game at Yankee Stadium.
Flash is most well known throughout the southeast for officiating some 5000 athletic events over his career. While 28 years as an umpire, with seven of those in professional baseball, Flash’s most memorable game was workingone in which the infamous Satchel Page pitched. Arndt still has a baseball signed by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member, who was equally well-known for his humor.
A man for all seasons, Arndt rolled up 34 years as a football referee and 37 years as a basketball referee. Still not finished with sports, Arndt did play-by-play broadcasting, via radio, of Hickory High football and basketball games for three years.
His nickname of “Flash” happened in high school. As a bench player, he was sent on the field by his coach in a tied game. Arndt out-raced the defensive back, caught a pass and scored the deciding game-winning touchdown.
More sports followed. Flash took up golf and, at last count, had two holes-in one and is said to still be able to shoot his age or better.
Arndt won over 263 games as an area coach. In 1953 and 1954, Arndt coached Balls Creek High Scholl to two consecutive winning seasons, and in 1955, he guided the new Bandys High School to an undefeated season.
In his community and civic involvement, Flash was just as active as he was on the field. His love of sports placed him on the Committee of 36 that began discussions about bringing pro baseball to Hickory, which as we all know became the Crawdads.
His commitment, First United Methodist Church rivals his best years in sports. He has served as chief of ushering and greeting and superintendent of the Sunday School for some 35 years. Ladies and Gentlemen, Leonard “Flash” Arndt.
William S.”Bill” Barkley
While William S. “Bill ” Barkley geared his young life to baseball, he staked out enough time to run a successful business and accept leadership in a variety of community service projects.
As a walk-on pitcher and second baseman on the Gardner-Webb College baseball team in 1947 “Big Bill” led the Bulldogs to an undefeated conference championship. In 1948, he won seven straight games without a loss in his and he set a record in strikeouts and winning the conference championship.
Completing his education at Lenoir-Rhyne College as its pitching ace (l949-51), he signed a pro contract with the Lincolnton Cardinals farm team in 1952-53, pitching 20 wins against just three losses.
Signing with the Charlotte Hornets in 1953, Barkley realized the dream of a baseball pitcher’scareer. He hurled a perfect game against Augusta, Ga., allowing no hits and no one on base, striking out five while facing just 21 batters.
In 1955 Bill was invited to spring training with the Washington Senators. Assigned to the Chattanooga Lookouts in l955, he pitched 16 games. Never pulled off the mound that year, Barkley led the Lookouts to the division championship. Some of those players Bill played against during those years was Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Yost, Joe Torre, and Yogi Berra, just to name a few.
His playing days over, Bill coached his sons from T-ball through America Legion ball. Two of his sons received baseball scholarships to The Citadel. One son, Jeff signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1982, remaining in the major leagues through 1986.
Baseball remains important to Bill Barkley. Each spring he assists in the Barkley Baseball School, run by sons Matt and Jeff, which have lasted over 20 years.
In his many years as a Hickory businessman, he coached Little League baseball teams for20-plus years, and coached the Hickory American Legion Post 48 team in 1959.
Extending his interest in young people,Barkley served 30 years on the advisory committee for the PiedmontCouncil of Boy Scouts, and the Salvation Army advisory board for 25 years. He was also served on the advisory board of Gardner-Webb University for over 25 years.
A lay leader and member of First United Methodist Church for 57 years, he also is a former president and lieutenant governor of Hickory Kiwanis Club over a period of 40 years.
This hall of fame will be Bill Barkley’s second. He was inducted into the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Ladies and Gentlemen, William S. “Bill” Barkley.
Jamie E. Coulter
Jamie Coulter, born n 1905, died in 1958, leaving a legacy that may never be matched in Catawba County.
Mr. Coulter, who grew up in Claremont, attended and graduated from Catawba High School in 1922, playing both basketball and baseball. As a student at Lenoir-Rhyne College, he served as manager of the basketball team. One of his responsibilities was bringing in big colleges anduniversity teams to play the L-R Bears. Duke and Carolina said “no thanks,” but Wake Forest and N.C. State agreed to play in Hickory.
N.C. State wonby 15 points, 26-11. Wake Forest won by five points, 26-21. Jamie became an assistant to Head Coach Dick Gurley. When Jamie graduated with a teaching degree in 1926, he was praised for his work as manager and received a monogram letter along with starting members of the basketball team.
Mr. Coulter, as he was known to students, was hired to teach at Catawba High School, where beginning in 1931 through 1944 coached both the girl’s and boy’s basketball teams too many Catawba County championships, as well as various other tournament championships. His record at Catawba High was an impressive 525-165-1.
Taking two years off from coaching and concentrating on teaching, Jamie Coulter returned to coaching in 1947 at Oxford “Dam” High, again, coaching both girls and boys. In 1949, Mr. Coulter, as he was called by his students, relinquished his coaching responsibilities of the boys, and remained girl’s coach until 1954. His overall record at Oxford “Dam” High was 159-65-4.
When the new consolidated Bunker Hill High School opened in l954, Mr. Coulter was appointed principal. He resigned in 1957 because of health problems and took up coaching basketball players, both girls and boys.
Records tend to show that Coach Coulter produced 684 winning games and just 230 losses and five ties. His wins likely exceed 700 games when all-star contests and faculty games are included. The loss column amounted to 230 games.
Charles F. Connor Jr., a Catawba County civic leader for many years didn’t play basketball under Jamie, but was coached under his son. His love of the game was often demonstrated in the classroom. “I only remember the class getting him to talk about basketball. When this happened, algebra took a back seat,” Connor recalled, adding, “He was respected as a gentleman and for his love of the boys and girls that he taught and coached.”
William “Billy” Wells
William “Billy” Wells will be adding his third hall of famehonor at induction ceremonies in the Catawba County Sports Hallof Fame banquet on Monday,May 10th. A member of the Halls of Fame at Lenoir-Rhyne College and the Western NC Sports Hall of Fame, Wells excelled as a basketball player and coach.
In that famous match-up of Lenoir-Rhyne and UNC-Chapel Hill on Dec. 7, l949, Wells scored a game high 25 points in the defeat of Carolina in three overtimes.
Named to the All-Conference team, 1947-51, he had a career high of 1,173 points.
In 1950-51, Wells was selected as Best All-Around Student.
In his first season as a basketball coach upon graduating from college, Wells guided St. Stephens High School to a 165-26 record over a period of five years, from 1951-56. While at St. Stephens, he had the privilege of coaching Raeford Wells, who went on to become Lenoir-Rhyne’s first 3-Time All-American basketball player. Along with his head coaching responsibilities at St. Stephens, Billy assisted famed Lenoir-Rhyne coach John “Pappy” Hamilton during the 1956-57 team, which lost it’s very first game of the season, then won 24 straight, losing only in the tournament, finishing 24-2.
In 1957, named head basketball and golf coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, Wells was voted as conference and district coach of the year several times from 1957 to 1965.
Along with the likes of Raeford Wells, a number of Wells other players were voted all-conference and all-district players. Jerry Wells was a twice an All-American.
Two of his teams, 1957 and 1958, were invited to Kansas City to play in the NAIA championship game. The 1957 trip was L-R’s first trip to Kansas City, and the following year, the Bear’s appeared again. The 1957 finished with a record of 24-4, and the 1958 team went 24-6. Well’s 1962-63 team finished 26-5, and to this date, holds the winningest record in Lenoir-Rhyne history. In eight seasons, he had an overall record of 166-63.
Upon retiring from coaching, Billy and his wife entered the business world creating a chain of restaurants. Ladies and gentlemen, William “Billy” Wells.