David Riggs is not surprised by the success of the players from his 1970 Broughton High football team.
The Caps won the N.C. High Athletic Association 4A championship that year, in Riggs’ first season as a high school coach.
Among the now middle-aged men from that team are college professors, chief operating officers of multimillion-dollar firms, lawyers, real estate executives, assorted entrepreneurs and at least four doctors. Two of the former players have been Presidential Command Pilots, ferrying presidents in Marine 1.
But none of those accomplishments were on Riggs’ mind when he complimented his former players.
Society may define success in terms of wealth, prestige and power, but Riggs has different criteria in making his assessment.
“Do you love other people? Are you honest? Do you treat people well? Are you happy? Are you reliable? Are you a good father? Are you good to your wife? All those things mean a lot more to me than if you made a lot of money,” Riggs said.
“I’m not surprised that they’ve been successful in those terms. Most of them were well on their way to being good people before I coached them.”
Tracking down the former players and talking to them about what that season so long ago has meant to them has been the great joy of Riggs’ years-long efforts to chronicle the events in a book.
“I don’t know if there is anybody in the world who would want to read a word of it. But I think the boys will,” Riggs said. “This is their story.”
Do you love other people? Are you honest? Do you treat people well? Are you happy? Are you reliable? Are you a good father? Are you good to your wife? All those things mean a lot more to me than if you made a lot of money.
Former high school football coach David Riggs
Riggs, 70, thought it would take a few months to write the book, but life interfered. People he loves have battled dementia. Others have fought cancer. Some players, including running back Jim Bass, perhaps the team’s best player, and Roland Massey, one of the club’s most beloved players, have died. Massey, who had pancreatic cancer, was a great motivation to write the book.
“He said to hurry up because he wanted to read it,” Riggs said.
Practicing the perseverance in tough times that he taught his teams, Riggs has almost finished the book, titled “Play With Your Hearts.”
He has pored through newspaper game accounts and talked to his former assistant coaches. Mostly though, he has tracked down the players of 1970.
“The book is mostly about the players – their memories, their stories,” Riggs said. “Some are hilarious. Some tell me things I never knew. Other stories will make you tear up. I’m not a writer, not an author, but I have collected their stories.”
A young coach
Riggs was 24 years old and fresh from a single year as a graduate assistant coach at the University of North Carolina when he was a surprising choice as the Caps’ new coach in summer 1970. He had been a high school star running back at Morganton High and started at tailback at UNC.
He loved football then and he loved coaching football until 2011 when he retired as the Holly Springs High head coach.
He wasn’t much older than his players when he came to Broughton. The players remember him working out with them. Quarterback David Turner said this was new to the players. The coaches would do up-downs, crab walk, do somersaults and sprint. The players were expected to keep up.
Riggs would push himself and them as the nearby bank clock would register temperatures of 100 degrees or more. To the man, the players remember a four-hour workout in the heat of Labor Day.
He didn’t curse, but he didn’t need to. The players knew he wasn’t happy in the film room as they watched the same play over and over and over again with his repeated, “I just can’t understand this.”
Lineman Steve Brewbaker, the son of then-N.C. State assistant coach Carey Brewbaker, said the lack of profanity created a nurturing environment that made the players feel good about themselves. He always believed Riggs and his staff cared about him.
Brewbaker and most of the other players loved Riggs. He was different. He won over a bunch of guys on their first meeting.
“I will never forget David Riggs taking a look at me, (defensive lineman star Mike) Shaner, (linebacker) Doug Murray, and a few others of the longer-haired set and saying the most brilliant thing that anyone ever said in my presence, ‘I don’t give a darn what your hair looks like, so long as you are giving me 100 percent effort at all times.’ Say what?” recalled senior linebacker Jim Lumsden.
Shaner had been dismissed from the team the year before but was elected captain in 1970. Shaner said Riggs once told him that he could wear a dress to practice as long as he worked hard.
“It is hard today to convey just how revolutionary this was at the time,” Lumsden said. “Our parents were still watching the ‘bad’ Jesse Helms on TV each and every night saying that we all were threats to the American Way. It was the single most brilliant decision in a tactical situation I ever saw made and from that moment the ball was rolling.”
Riggs also made it very clear he was concerned with the players’ character and that they needed to learn to care for one another.
“It was an unbelievably close bunch of guys,” Riggs said. “Coaches can’t control that. The players do.”
Integration was still new at Broughton in 1970 and there was a large income gap among the players’ parents. Some of the players were from the most affluent parts of town. Others lived in middle class homes near the school. The majority of the seven black players came from Southeast Raleigh and the Method Road area.
Riggs thought, at the time, that he knew much of what was going on in his players’ lives. But he learned otherwise when he began working on the book.
He had never fully understood what it was like for some of the black players at predominantly white Broughton. End Bernard Williams told Riggs that it was like living in two worlds, “ being caught between a rock and a hard place.”
Williams recalled hearing racial epithets in the halls of the school. Before his high school days, he had a school coach challenge him to a fight, a grown man against a child. To other people, though, he was an “Uncle Tom” who should be playing his football at the predominantly black Ligon High.
Defensive end Charles Banks, another black player, remembered being spit upon as he walked to school. Sometimes all of the black players had to endure taunts at road games.
But on the team, among the players, everyone was simply a teammate. That is one of the things of which Riggs is most proud.
He said he admires the players more now than he did on the day they beat Charlotte Olympic 14-0 at Carter-Finley Stadium for the state championship. It was the team’s fifth straight shutout.
“I was a young coach. This was my first year. I knew that winning a state championship was hard, but I didn’t realize how hard until years later,” he said.
Riggs moved around as a coach with stops at Cary, Sanderson, McDowell County, Athens Drive, Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs. The more he coached, the more amazing the 1970 season became.
“I had some great teams, teams that were as talented, who were just as close, and who worked just as hard as that Broughton team,” Riggs said. “But they couldn’t quite make the play that had to be made. It was no lack of effort; it just didn’t happen.
“And the more I coached, the more I realized that there are lots of high school coaches who were better than I ever was who never had a chance to coach a state championship team. When we won, I had no idea how special that moment was.”
Riggs left Broughton after the 1971 season to answer some questions in his own life that he had pondered for a year.
After studying at Regent University in British Columbia and at Abilene Christian University, he returned to high school coaching at Cary High in 1973 and stayed there until 1979 when he left to begin the football program at Athens Drive High.
In 1981 he became a minister at Brooks Avenue Church and later at University Church in Fairfax, Va. He resumed high school coaching at Sanderson in 1989 and coached at McDowell County (1999-2004), Fuquay-Varina (2004-08) and Holly Springs (2010-11) before retiring.
The title season probably affected his life as much as it did any player.
A player at the award banquet for the state championship team asked Riggs a simple question that he could not answer.
“Is this trophy all we get for winning the state championship?” Riggs was asked.
“That comment had a tremendous impact on me,” Riggs writes in his book’s epilogue. “I went for weeks thinking about what a good question that was. … As I thought about all the sprints, calisthenics, weight lifting, time put into football, and all the planning that went on for months, I became tired myself just thinking about it all. Then the question, ‘Is this trophy all we get?’ ”
1970 Broughton football season
Greensboro Grimsley 8, Broughton 7
Broughton took the lead on a 74-yard run by Jim Bass at Raleigh’s Devereux Meadow, but Grimsley returned a punt for a touchdown and converted a 2-point conversion for the win. It was Dave Riggs’ head coaching debut.
Broughton 19, Winston-Salem Reynolds 6
Quarterback David Turner scored two touchdowns on sneaks after Bass had opened the scoring with an 8-yard run. Jim Durham made a key interception to stop Reynolds when the Caps led 12-6 at Devereux Meadow.
Broughton 20, Enloe 7
The Caps played Enloe at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium as part of a high school doubleheader that attracted 10,000 spectators. Bass scored on a pair of 2-yard runs and Turner capped a 19-play, 67-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak.
Rocky Mount 19, Broughton 15
Rocky Mount scored in the final minute after Broughton attempted an on-side kick after taking a 15-13 lead on a Macy Falkner 23-yard field goal.
Broughton 21, Hillside 0
In 1970, a three-touchdown win was considered to be a blowout. Bass scored on a 10-yard run, John Holding passed to Billy Starling for a score and Height ran 3 yards for the final score. The big impact of the game, though, was that Riggs switched Broughton’s defensive alignment from five lineman and two linebackers to four linemen and four linebackers.
Wilson Fike 14, Broughton 7
Fike scored with two seconds left to drop the Caps to 3-3.
Broughton 16, Sanderson 7
Bass broke scoring runs of 67 and 54 yards as the Caps rallied from a 7-3 deficit.
Fayetteville Sanford 28, Broughton 7
Broughton was physically pounded and thoroughly beaten in the second half.
Broughton 19, Raleigh Ligon 0
The Caps won at Chavis Park on Halloween night. Bass scored on a pair of short runs, and Holding hit Massey with a 13-yard scoring pass. The shutout was the first of five straight.
Broughton 13, Durham 0
The conference championship and a playoff berth (teams had to win their conference to advance to the playoffs) was on the line. Bass scored on runs of 5 and 11 yards.
Broughton 21, Greensboro Dudley 0
Dudley entered the first-round game at Greensboro Grimsley High with a 9-1 record but was stuffed. Broughton outgained Dudley 199 yards to 9 in the first half. Bass scored on runs of 3 and 13 yards, and Turner hit Sandy Goodwin with a 40-yard scoring pass.
Broughton 6, Goldsboro 0
More than 6,000 fans filed into Devereux Meadow. The 158-pound Bass made a remarkable 52-yard scoring run on Broughton’s first possession of the second half.
Broughton 14, Charlotte Olympic 0
Broughton opened the game with a methodical 78-yard, 13-play drive that was capped by Turner’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Charles King. As he came off the field, he said it was his only reception of the season. The Caps defense made a key fourth-down stop, tackling future Georgia Tech star Randy Rhino at the 1. Bass wrapped up the win with a 7-yard scoring run.
1970 Broughton Caps
HORACE AYSCUE Junior---5’ 9”---185—OT Unknown
CHARLES BANKS Junior---5’ 10”—172 _ DE _ Railroad
JIM BASS Junior 5-9 160 _RB- Real estate
SAM BEARD Senior---5’ 9”---151 Center- Unknown
GORDON BLAKE 1969 graduate Manager – Security
Dr. STEVE BREWBAKER Senior---5’ 11”---185 – L –OB-GYN
MARK CAUDLE Junior 5’8”---130 – WB – Unknown
JOHN CLARKE Senior---5’ 10”---182 – C _ Pharmaceutical industry
JIM CORTER Junior---6’2”---175 – DL – Columbia University professor
DAVE DUPREE Senior---5’ 10”---162- DB _ Founder and senior partner Halifax Group
JIM DURHAM Senior---6’---165 – DB _ Financial planner
Dr. WELLS EDMUNDSON Junior---5’ 11”---197 –-Medical doctor
*RICK EUDY Senior---6’---192 – TE _ Police officer
MACY FALKNER Junior---6’---180----K/FL - Owner/CEO of National Water Technologies Inc.
PHIL FICKLIN Senior---6’ 1”---180- TE – IBM
JIMMY FITZGERALD Junior---5’ 9”---170 – G –Professional Sales
JOHNNY FORD Junior---5’ 11”---174---TE—Barber
*SANDY GOODWIN – Sophomore -- 6-foot, 170 pounds-- - WR Unknown
ERIC HANDY Senior---5’9”---156---WB-- U.S. Army commissioned officer
SKIPPER HAWKINS Junior---5’ 8”---157 - - Unknown
LARRY HEIGHT Junior---6’2”---222-FB- Lawyer
VANN HINTON Junior---6’ 1”---158 – WR _ Unknown
JOHN HOLDING Senior---6’ 2”---173 – QB – Business
MURRAY HOWELL Senior---5’ 10”---195 – OB --- NCDOT engineer
BUDDY HUDSON Sophomore xx xx DB – COO of PMC Inc.
RICK HUNTER Junior---5’10” – 160 – OG –Lawyer
*ROBBIE JONES Senior manager
CHARLES KING Senior---5’10”---175 – FB/LB – CPA
Dr. KENT KISTLER Senior---5’8”---164 – OG -Neurologist
GEORGE LATTIMORE Senior---5’ 10”---170 – LB – ARM Holdings
JIM LITTLE Senior---5’8”---168---OG – CFO Keystone Corp.
JIM LUMSDEN Senior---5’11”---170 – LB – President Fairview Land and Venture LLC
*ROLAND MASSEY Senior---5’8”---155---WR – U.S. Marine presidential command pilot
CHRIS MORGAN Senior---6’ 2”---270 – DT – Raleigh police lieutenant
JAY MORGAN Junior---6’ 2”---195---OT -- N.C. Highway Patrol telecommunications
GRIGG MULLEN Junior---5’ 6”---189 – L _ Unknown
DOUG MURRAY Senior---5’10”---180 LB – High school teacher and coach
GARY NEAL Junior---6’ 1”---180 – DT _ Unknown
LARRY OTTO Sophomore 5’9 – 165 – LB – Produce industry
ALLAN PARNELL Junior---6’---165---DB – Civil rights analyst and advocate
DOUG PERRY Junior---6’ 1”---160 – TE __ Home builder
*WILLIS PRICE Junior---5’ 8”---155 –OG – Deceased
RANDY PROCTOR Junior---5’ 8”---163 – OL _ Insurance
DAVID REYNOLDS Junior---5’ 11”---204---OT __ Commercial landscaper
PRESTON RUTH Senior---6’---165—DB – U.S. Marine presidential command pilot
MARK SHANER Senior---5’ 9”---207 – DL – Entrepreneur
ASHLEIGH SPAIN Senior---5’ 11”---175 _ L _ Blacksmith
Dr. GARY STAINBACK Senior---6’---163 – SE/K – Psychologist
BILL STARLING Senior---6’2”---180 – WR __ CEO of Synecor Co.
JIM STONEHAM Senior---5’ 10”---175 – DE __ Business development in logistics
DICKIE THOMPSON Junior---5 8”---150 __DB --J.M. Thompson Co.
DAVID TURNER Junior---5’ 10”---145---QB – Home appraisal
PAUL USSERY Junior--- 5’ 11”---180--- Department of Defense; technology and software
HARRISON WARD Senior manager – WATCO Corp.
BERNARD WILLIAMS Junior---6’---152---OE/DE – U.S. Navy; machinist
BOB WOMBLE Senior team trainer – Corporate and tax lawyer
Heights and weights are from 1970. Professionals were provided by coach David Riggs. Unknown designates that Riggs has been unable to locate the player. * _ deceased.