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True Story: A basketball and a brick

by Norm Miller

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews)—Truett-McConnell College launched on May 1 a capital campaign for its new George Blaurock Student Recreation Center that will include three basketball courts.

Completed in 1963, the college’s current basketball court has hosted hundreds of events, thousands of people, and registered countless baskets through its orange-colored hoops.

Alumnus Barron Pilgrim (’65), however, scored the first-ever buckets.

In 1963, and in the presence of carpenters who were finishing the gym, Pilgrim grabbed a basketball and swished two buckets, one on each end of the court, thus “scoring” the first four points in the gym’s history.

Later, in the fall of 1963, Truett-McConnell inaugurated it’s basketball program in a game with Young-Harris College.

“They were a powerhouse,” Pilgrim told TMNews, while noting the YH team frequently made it to the national championships.

The game started, and Pilgrim had the ball a few feet out from the top of the key.

“I remember when I went up for the jump shot. I was thinking I was a bit out of my range,” Pilgrim recalled.

But he pulled the trigger and the ball fell through. Pilgrim made it official; he scored the first two points in the history of Truett-McConnell’s basketball program.

Pilgrim’s bucket was a portent of ill wind for Young Harris, as TMC defeated the neighboring team.

“It was a such a big deal that the president cancelled classes the next day, and we had a celebration in the gym,” Pilgrim said. “All the basketball players were recognized for their contributions.”

That memory and several others led Pilgrim -- a member of First Baptist Church in Columbia S. Car. -- to purchase a commemorative brick in support of the college and its efforts to build a new student recreation center.

Students already have dubbed the George Blaurock Center the “Rock.” And just like Barron Pilgrim, you, too, may purchase a brick for the “Rock.”

With pricing reflective of the bricks’ sizes, they may be purchased for $100, $500 or $1,000.

For more info, go to www.whateveristrue.truett.edu.

Now a 4-year college, Truett-McConnell was a two-year school when Pilgrim graduated.

“Buying a brick is just my way of helping my alma mater,” said Pilgrim, noting the college has graduated many pastors and was attended “by a lot of good people.”

When asked what was his favorite subject, Pilgrim said, “I studied basketball.”

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