It was “just like old times” as the basketball players and their coaches moved onto the court to the cheers of their fans. Even though it had been 25 years since they had played ball in the LPHS competition gym, the team still had the same Bulldog spirit that catapulted them to the 1987 state championship.
La Porte ISD hosted a Jan. 10 reception and halftime presentation in honor of the 1987 LPHS basketball team members who brought recognition to their school and community with their 40-0 season. Community members, former teachers and LPHS graduates were among those who turned out for the festivities to honor the men whose journey to Austin ignited excitement and school pride throughout the community.
Tom Holland, head coach of the championship team, and Pat Tart, assistant coach, attended the event, as did former trainer Al “Doc” Cooper. Holland now serves as principal at Barbers Hill High School, Tart is an instructor at Tarrant County College District’s Northwest Campus, and Cooper retired from LPISD in 2010.
Eleven members of the team came back to their alma mater for the recognition activities. Attending the reception and/or the basketball game were former players Charles “Smokey” McCovery, Fred Harris, Tommy Washington, Keith Hearon, Richard Allison, Jarvis Fantroy, Kimmy Washington, Roy Erskin and Ned Roberson, as well as student trainer Paul Kistler. Players William Gooden and Paul McCovery and manager Eric Lippold were also on the 1987 team.
The activities began with a reception in the La Porte High School Physical Education Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Former players and coaches had the chance to visit with community members and one another during the event. Memorabilia from the 1987 season, including the state championship trophy, was on display, and those in attendance had the chance to watch a video presentation of 1987 media coverage compiled by Richard Allison and Paul Askins.
At halftime, LPHS principal Todd Schoppe introduced Holland, Tart and Cooper, and Holland then introduced each of his players and reminisced about the role of each team member in that championship season. Players were presented with T-shirts and team photos.
“We were very excited to welcome the 1987 state championship basketball team back to La Porte High School and were thrilled that so many of the former players and their coaches were able to attend the reception and halftime presentation in their honor,” said Todd Schoppe, LPHS principal. “We were also pleased that so many community members, retired teachers, and La Porte graduates turned out for the event. The 40-0 season was such a memorable time in this community’s history, and it was fun to re-visit that year with the coaches, players and fans who made it happen.”