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More than a stadium: Lee Hedges Part 2 - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

More than a stadium: Lee Hedges Part 2

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SHREVEPORT, La -

Lee Hedges Stadium is named for the man who coached 18 years at Captain Shreve, winning the city's last public school state championship 40 years ago in 1973, but Hedges also led Woodlawn and Fair Park to championship games.  His 217 wins remain a Shreveport-Bossier record and his name stands on the stadium behind Captain Shreve as a tribute that still stands.  "It's a real honor and I don't take it lightly," says Hedges. 

It is not a stretch to say that some people today, when they think of Lee Hedges, they think of a place as opposed to a person.  "Well," Hedges laughs, "I don't know. That's just like.. in any stadium, if you're not familiar with it, they don't know who Lee Hedges is, and that's fine."  But Hedges does have his name recognized, often while shopping. " You hand a person a credit card… I say no, that was my brother."

Hedges, who works with young tennis players, recently had a worker who tends to the grounds asked by a parent to take a child to a high school football game.  "And he said, where is it? And she said ‘It's up at the Lee Hedges Stadium,' and ol' Jake said, ‘I know that guy.' The woman said, ‘ You mean the guy who donated that stadium/'  That got Hedges laughing, "Not on $1500 a year.. I won't be donating any stadium."

But it was never about the money, just the love of the game and the kids.  "It's been a real honor. For a coach.. you almost have to put my wife's name up there with it."  Lee and Nell Hedges were married 58 years before Nell passed away in January.  Hedges says a coach could never coach without strong support at home and he had it with beloved Nell, who Hedges says was a better teacher than he was.  She put up with all the different schools and raised the children while he coached.

Hedges coached Terry Bradshaw at Woodlawn High School and says Bradshaw was the first person to sign the football given to him during the dedication ceremony for Lee Hedges Stadium.  "Terry only got to play his last year because we had an all-state QB," Hedges said.  "We saw he could throw, 70 yards, when he came to Woodlawn we tried to develop his ball handling skills." Hedges did not throw much, but he threw more than he ever had before with Bradshaw.  "Even at Woodlawn when we had Bradshaw. I think he threw 21 touchdown passes and we were running out of the Wing-T."

But Hedges still follows many sports, especially football, which he knows as well as anyone.  "This new thing they've got spreading them out everywhere, all this speed.. 1-on-1, it's hard to tackle a guy 1-on-1."

If hedges had today's players, he'd undoubtedly win with today's players.  "I probably wasn't tough enough to be a coach but I enjoyed it and I liked the competition."

Lee Hedges won more than anyone in the Shreveport area ever has and at the age of 83 is still a winner today.

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