Basketball fans of an older generation remember well the storied past of the Sweet Sixteen tournament in Memorial Gym on UK’s campus and round ball legends like Johnny Cox and “King” Kelly Coleman playing there.
Families would gather around the radio and a grandfather or uncle and hear tales of the best players and schools in the commonwealth: teams like Carr Creek, Hazel Green and big city schools like Louisville Central and Lexington Dunbar. It seems like those boys always made it to the state tournament.
In football, it was hard not to paint a picture of the best Kentucky schools on the gridiron without including Louisville Flaget. The famed Louisville prep school fielded its first football team in 1945. Coach Paulie Miller’s ’49 team won the school’s first state championship.
In all, more than 4,200 students graduated from Flaget. According to a history of the school, the most significant contribution of Flaget was to the West End of Louisville; it afforded the opportunity of a structured college-preparatory high school education to boys, who for the most part, were sons of blue-collar families.
Graduates of Flaget, who are to this day immensely loyal to their Alma mater, still gather for reunions.
Two of their best-known graduates trace their success back to the football field: the legendary Notre Dame player Paul Hornung and Howard Schnellenberger, former U of L coach.
KET Producer John Schroering has ties to Flaget; his father and several relatives graduated from the school. John has produced a look back at Flaget, “Flaget High School: The Great Spirit Lives On” which airs on KET KY, Tuesday, Feb. 26th at 8 pm ET.