Hatch’s ‘Living Legend’ steps aside

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Times-Journal Sports Editor

UNIONTOWN&045;For the first time in nearly 40 years there will be a new face patrolling the sidelines of R.C. Hatch basketball games. Eugene Mason who coached the Bobcats to seven state championships retired from his position at the end of the 2004-2005 school year.

Tuesday night friends, former players and colleagues gathered inside the newly crowned Eugene Mason Gymnasium to honor the Bobcats skipper.

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From her welcoming words to the crowd, the night was filled with memories about past games that the Bobcats and Mason had been part of.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association honored Mason to start the tributes portion of the program off.

Mason shared a memory of a game against Evans from earlier in his career.

Mason coached the Bobcats to seven state championships, the first coming in 1978 and then in 1981, capping a 25-0 season.

The Bobcats struck gold two years later in 1987. It took seven years for Mason and Hatch to win a fourth title, but they did at the end of the 1994 and again in 1995. Eight years past between the next title reign, but like it’s predecessor, it was of the back-to-back variety as the Bobcats won the AHSAA State Championship in basketball in 2003 and 2004.

Mason won a combined 919 games against 306 losses.

White presented Mason with a used pitching wedge from the first time the two went golfing.

The City of Uniontown also provided a proclamation for Mason that stated: "Teachers teach students the components of the subject. Educators make sure that their students are taught not only the components of the subject, but the philosophy and the history of the subject. Whereas this act is recognized by the entire citizenry of Uniontown that certain educators live by this creed. One such educator, Eugene Mason, has labored in a manner with great conviction.&uot;

The Perry County school board will begin searching for Mason’s replacement, but no timetable has been set.