Former Bearcat Calvin Close needs kidney transplant

Published 8:23 pm Friday, July 23, 2010

He and his teammates on Coach Ralph Jones’s 1982 State Class AAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team brought a lot of positive recognition to their school and to Bainbridge and Decatur County.

Now Calvin Close, the starting tailback on the BHS team that defeated the Gainesville High School Red Elephants 7-6 on a rainy night in Gainesville, is in need of a kidney transplant.

Close, who worked in building and grounds for the city of Bainbridge’s Leisure Services Department for the last two years before falling ill, takes kidney dialysis treatments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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After graduating from Bainbridge High School in 1983, Close went on to start in the Tuskeegee University Golden Tigers backfield in Tuskeegee, Ala.

During a Wednesday visit to The Post-Searchlight, Close reminisced about the Bearcats’ 1982 state championship season and how coach Jones, defensive coordinator Sonny Smart, offensive coordinator Don Hancock, offensive line coach Steve Bench, receivers coach Dwight Gray and the rest of the coaches and players were such a cohesive group.

Close vividly remembers backfield teammate Scott Carroll, scoring the winning touchdown in the state championship game. Both Carroll and starting defensive back Kenny Howard are now doctors,

“The winning touchdown play was a 36 belly,” Close said, recalling Carroll’s winning touchdown run.

“My job on the winning touchdown play was to kick out the linebacker who was firing in from the left. I did, and Scott did a great job of powering in for the touchdown.

“I had just fumbled in the end zone trying to score a couple of minutes earlier. Gainesville recovered and got the ball on their own 20-yard-line. Gainesville then fumbled it right back, we recovered, and drove right back down to score on Scott’s strong run.”

An outstanding three sport athlete at BHS, Close played forward on the basketball team and also qualified for the State Class AAA Track Meet in the long jump, the high jump and the 440-yard relay as a senior. In addition to his football coaches, he lists long-time highly successful Bearcats track coach Larry Clark as a great supporter and role model.