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A winner for more than winning: Lee Hedges, Part 1 - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

A winner for more than winning: Lee Hedges, Part 1

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SHREVEPORT, La -

One doesn't have to be a big high school football fan or in Shreveport very long to know the name Lee Hedges.  To many, the name is associated with a stadium, but to know the man is to know a living legend.

Lee Hedges coached high school football in Shreveport for nearly three decades, but has been associated with it much longer than that, starting in his playing days at Fair Park in the 1940's.

When asked, "What's the biggest difference between playing HS football today and back when you played?" Hedges responded, " Well, back when I played I don't recall our coach mentioning state championship."  Hedges says, "We never talked about championships at Fair Park, we talked about beating Byrd on Thanksgiving Day.. . I don't remember them talking very much."      

Even as a coach beating Byrd mattered.  The only football coach hedges keeps in his den is the one from the first time he beats Byrd while coaching at Woodlawn because it took him six years to do so.

It's obvious how winning is important.. And Hedges won 217 games, still the most in Shreveport-Bossier City high school history, but to him high school football has great value beyond trying to go undefeated.   "It's important, it's a good goal but that's not the end of it. Having the kids have some success during the season and even, I hate to say it, but even have the feeling of losing.  You'll find out right quick what you're made out of.. Win and you find out how good you are. Lose and you find out if you can regroup and go again."

Lee Hedges and high school football found themselves a perfect fit.  While Hedges did leave Shreveport for one season as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, he did not like college football or recruiting. Always the teacher and coach.  " To me coaching is.. You have to coach your personality. For me to be too rough would be against how I'm built, really."

Hedges coached well enough to make winners out of Woodlawn, Fair Park and Captain Shreve.

Hedges took three public schools to state championship games and won the state championship at Captain Shreve in 1973, the last Shreveport public school to win a state championship. When asked what that means to him Hedges replied, "Well, as far as I'm concerned, I'm hoping somebody else will win one.  And we too to win had to be first in district or second most of the time. One year at Shreve we were 8-2 and couldn't get in to the playoff."

Hedges was able to recall the players and coaches from his 1973 team and their accomplishments as though they had happened yesterday.   "We had a good defense.  I think we gave up 13 points in ten games. Might not be a record, but it's a pretty good average. And I think they won the championship in spite of me."

This is the 40th anniversary of that state championship and hedges is most proud of the fine "people" so many of his players became.. And no one was more surprised than hedges when he was inducted in to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.  "The Hall of Fame down in Natchitoches, I mean that just came out of the blue after 20-some-odd years and they reach back and I won one championship.   Jerry Byrd wrote in there, ‘We're honoring two high school coaches.  Together they won 25 state championships.  John Curtis won 24 and Lee Hedges won one.'   I said, ‘ Thank you Jerry, I appreciate it.'

We, and all of Shreveport, appreciate Lee Hedges.

More in part two of our conversation as Hedges talks about having a stadium that bears his name and coaching Terry Bradshaw.

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