The records of the first nine coaches are lost in the dust bin of antiquity, but their tenth coach, another Wabash graduate named Alex Cox, posted a four year record of 45-22. Cox, a 1925 graduate of Darlington coached his alma mater from 1936-1941 before moving on to successful coaching stints at Bowers and Linden. The Indians had only one losing season from 1935 to 1971, but could not win a championship until Pete Irwin, a Bowers graduate, led them to a County Crown in 1954 after 22 empty years. Darrell Maxwell led the Indians that year with 444 points for a 19.3 average. Maxwell finished his career 8th on the list with 722 points. Another family note, his nephew, Mark Maxwell played on the outstanding Darlington teams of 1968-69 and 1969-70.
Darlington High School was blessed with some outstanding coaches and recorded the best winning percentage of any school in the County over the last 35 years before consolidation. In two years, Robert “Pete” Irwin, a Bowers graduate and member 1942 Bowers County Championship team fashioned a 33-13 record and won the first County Tourney with his 1954 Indian squad. Al Niswonger, a 1941 DHS graduate and star basketball player, coached the Indians for four seasons and left with a sparkling 64-22 record.
Stay tuned in two weeks for memories from coach Galen Smith and student-manager Bob Shelton.
Bill Boone is a local sports historian who contributes to the Journal Review.