Stampley named to Co-Lin Athletic Hall of Fame

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – One of the most important figures in Vidalia sports and education will be honored Saturday as W.L. Stampley joins four others in being inducted to the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Athletic Hall of Fame.

The ceremony, a part of Co-Lin’s homecoming festivities, will take place at 9 a.m. in Wolf Hall A and B of the Thames Center on the Wesson Campus.

&uot;It’s an honor,&uot; said the 1948 Co-Lin graduate. &uot;Everybody likes to be recognized for something they’ve done.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Stampley, a fullback, received All-State honors in 1947 while playing football for the Wolves. He also played at the University of Wyoming and the University of Southern Mississippi.

&uot;It’s good to go back,&uot;&160;Stampley said. &uot;I hope I’ll get to see some guys I haven’t seen in a while.&uot;

Before enrolling at Co-Lin, Stampley served in World War II’s China-Burma-India Theater of Operations while in the Army from July 1943 to January 1946.

After his graduation from USM, Stampley said he was looking for a football coaching job but having little luck. While staying with his parents in Natchez, he applied for a vacant coaching position at Vidalia, which at the time didn’t have a football program, he said.

&uot;People began to get interested (in a football team),&uot; he said. &uot;We started up a team, and I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that unless you’ve got a lot of boys.&uot;

What Stampley had was a lot of local support.

&uot;The principal told me to order the equipment, and I got it out of a catalog,&uot; he said. &uot;When it came on the train, the manager of the depot said it cost $600 and we didn’t have a dime.

&uot;The city of Vidalia paid for the equipment,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve always had a lot of support for sports over here.&uot;

Stampley began his employment with the Concordia Parish School Board in Vidalia in April 1950. He served not only as a football coach but a basketball and baseball coach, high school principal and a supervisor of secondary education.

&uot;He gave me my first job,&uot; said Vidalia’s head football coach of 33 years, Dee Faircloth. &uot;He was the toughest son of a gun I’ve ever worked for.&uot;

Faircloth said Stampley earned his football nickname – Bear.

&uot;He was tough as a boot,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;But teachers loved him to death.&uot;

Faircloth said Vidalia High School owes its very existence to Stampley.

&uot;He’s the reason the school’s still here,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;During integration in 1970, we didn’t lose many kids at all. The kids knew he’d take care of them.&uot;

Unless the students were getting out of line, Faircloth added.

&uot;He loved ‘Skip Day,’&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;He’d call their parents and say ‘Mrs. So-and-so, your son’s not at school today. Don’t you think you’d better go get him?’ He thrived on stuff like that.&uot;

Stampley retired from the Concordia Parish School system in June 1979 and was elected to the Concordia Parish School system in 1981, where he served for 14 years.

The 75-year-old is now retired. &uot;Right now I’m doing nothing, and I don’t intend to do anything,&uot; Stampley said.

Retired or not, Stampley still keeps a close eye on Vidalia sports and education.

&uot;I’ve already talked to him once today,&uot; Faircloth said. &uot;There isn’t too much that gets past him.&uot;

Stampley and his wife Lamathelle reside in Vidalia. They are the parents of Mary Evelyn Cupit of Vidalia, Joseph Stampley of Spring, Texas, and the late John Stampley, and they have five grandchildren.

Stampley is also a member of Vidalia Presbyterian Church, where he serves as an elder and a Sunday school teacher.

Joining Stampley in the Hall of Fame this year are former women’s basketball coach Dr. James Milton Ewing (posthumously), basketball star and Brookhaven native Tammie Gayten, football star and Brookhaven native Pat Henninton and football, track and tennis star Mike McIntyre, a Wesson native.