White County High School proudly announces the 2023 WCHS Homecoming Parade Grand Marshal is Kenneth Ray Broyles.
Mr. Broyles is a 1949 graduate of White County High School. He attended Findlay Elementary, and East Sparta (City) School before coming to WCHS. Mr. Broyles was part of a football family that made history here at WCHS; Kenneth was the older brother of fellow WCHS Hall of Fame member Ralph Broyles.
Kenneth Broyles learned early on from his father to never quit. Broyles remembers his freshmen year when 100 boys tried out for football, and he was not given one of the 10 jerseys reserved for freshmen. He recalls, “I was a skinny little freshman player, but I did not give up no matter the circumstance, and I was given my opportunity as a senior to be a starter for the Warriors.”
Mr. Broyles is married to his wife of 70 years, Martha Sue Bell Broyles. They have four children: Stephen, Sherry, Susan, and William, as well as six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Broyles served the Tennessee Farm Bureau for 38 years, from 1959 to 1979, as an agency manager for White County. He continued his football career at Tennessee Tech after graduating from WCHS.
Mr. Broyles recalls working hard to become better at football and putting on some weight. He felt his junior year was “going to be his year.” That changed: “WCHS hired a new coach, Teddy “Bear” Stephens, to lead the football program.” Stephens brought with him Florida All-State halfback Charlie Brass to live with his family. Brass became the starter, and Broyles continued to work hard and patiently waited for his number to be called as the starter.
Finally, Kenneth Broyles got the call from Coach Stephens that he would be the starter at left halfback for his senior season. Weighing in at a monstrous 150 pounds, Mr. Broyles finally got the goal he had been working for since he did not receive one of those 10 freshmen jerseys. Broyles had followed his dad’s advice and never quit. He was now a starter for his beloved Sparta Warriors and would proudly wear the maroon and gray on Friday nights.
When asked what his most memorable game of the fall of ’48 was, he quickly responded, “The Cookeville game.” His response puzzled me because the Warriors came up short 7-6 in that rivalry game. Broyles responded, “That night, I ran for the best I had ever done.” The Warriors had missed an extra point and were driving on the Cavaliers for the win when Coach Stephens pulled Broyles to give him a rest, and another player fumbled the ball. Broyles said, “We lost that game, but that was my best game for the Warriors.”
After graduating from WCHS, in 1949, Broyles continued his education at Tennessee Tech. He decided not to play his first year for the Golden Eagles. By January 1950, Broyles realized he still wanted to play football. He was allowed to walk on and started in the spring game against Appalachian State University. In the fall of 1950, he red-shirted, as TTU would play Bear Bryant, his Kentucky Wildcats, and the University of Tennessee Volunteers. The UT Vols would finish the season as the number 1 team in the nation.
Broyles played the 50, 51, 52, and 53 seasons for the Golden Eagles. In 1952, Broyles was named co-captain for the TTU team. The 1952 season was unique because the Golden Eagles were selected to play North Texas State (Texas A & M – Commerce) in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The trip to Florida had a two-fold purpose for Broyles because just a few days prior, the Broyles had exchanged vows on Dec. 20, 1952. Broyles described the trip as a “honeymoon for him and his new bride, Martha Sue Bell Broyles.” It was a memorable trip for Broyles and his teammates, “eating tangerines from the trees and experiencing Florida’s sun and representing TTU.” The game would be a struggle for the Golden Eagles as they lost to the team from Texas.
White County High School proudly honors Mr. Kenneth Broyles’s accomplishments as a student-athlete. Broyles was involved in FFA while a student at WCHS, where he was awarded the State Farmer degree and served as the secretary for the program. His class selected him as the Cutest Boy and the Most Handsome Boy.
Mr. Broyles was selected as the Grand Marshal because he reflects true warrior attributes. County athletic director Terry Crain stated, “It is a privilege to have Mr. Kenneth Broyles serve as our 2023 Grand Marshal. Mr. Broyles has been a pillar of our community for many years and a great Warrior.”
Principal Greg Wilson said, “I remember Mr. Broyles from when I was a little boy; he was my grandfather’s Farm Bureau agent and lived in our community. He has always been known for his honesty and love for the Sparta community. I am honored he accepted our invitation.”
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