Hoyt Kirk played basketball and baseball for Lipscomb. He started school and then served four years in the U.S. Navy before returning to school. He opted the second time around to stick with baseball after also making the basketball team on his return to school. He coached baseball and basketball at Freed-Hardeman University for several years and remains active as the minister for the Linden Church of Christ. He spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
“I entered school at Lipscomb in 1947. I played basketball and baseball for two years. I left and played semi-pro baseball for a year and then went into service (U.S. Navy) for four years. I came back to Lipscomb in 1956. I made the basketball team when I came back to school, but I was too old any more on that level.
“I played baseball for two more years. I played second base and shortstop. We had a good ball club with players like Walter Glass and Bill Banowsky.”
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
“I wanted to play ball. I grew up in Perry County. My mother, Lou, really wanted me to go to Freed-Hardeman, but the school didn’t have a basketball program so I didn’t have much of a problem talking with my parents about coming to Lipscomb. Some of my cousins went there and I knew some people who had gone there.
“My brother, Harry, was at Lipscomb but not for long. Everyone always asks me about (my cousin) Leonard Kirk who went to Lipscomb. He was a great song leader and lived around Hampshire.”
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“The best memory I have is when we were playing baseball at Austin Peay. Walter Glass was our pitcher and he was batting ninth and they walked him to get to me at leadoff.
“I had a friend in the stands who I was in the Navy with. He jumped up and said `Kirk that tells you what we think of you.’ I walked to the plate and looked at the catcher. I said, ` you may get me out, but I know baseball.’ The first pitch, the umpire could have called it a strike and I wouldn’t have said anything. I hit the second pitch into the woods. That was an enjoyable hit.
“We won some good ball games and I played with a lot of good people like Carl Walker, Art “Tubby” Gardner and Herb Murphy. Herb is a jewel to me.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“A number of people did. I can’t think of all of them.
“I liked Eugene `Fessor’ Boyce. His father came out of Perry County. `Fessor’ was very close to me. Herman Waddell was his assistant at the time and I liked him as well.
“I loved old Tom Hanvey. He taught tumbling, kinesiology and anatomy.
“Jennings Davis was a good ball player. He was a city boy and I was a country boy.
“A lot of the veterans were coming back like Frank Downing, George McIntosh, Don McIntyre and Hardeman Hendon. Hardeman has been such a good friend of mine.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“Nashville is just a beautiful city. We would go downtown to Church Street where the movie theaters were. We would walk up and down the street and have a ball. It would cost us about 10 or 15 cents to come back to school.
“I really enjoyed the city, I was a country boy and it was nice to be in the city. I enjoyed the change.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“I loved Brother Willard Collins. He was a very influential man for me. Also Brother Batsell Baxter and his son, Batsell Barrett Baxter were strong influences as well.
“They were God-fearing people and I appreciated them. They wanted to hold open the old Bible and I still appreciate that. I am very conservative and I want the Word taught and I want us to hold to it.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“Dr. Howard White was one of the best teachers I ever had. I took history classes so I could have him for class. If I could have taught history like he taught history I would have made my living as a history teacher. He made history live. He was just a great teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed his classes.
“This was during the 50s and I remember Dr. White saying we are going to grow up with TV and people are going to have eyes like saucers and brains like thimbles. I think he was exactly right and now computers have come along and taken over.
“I also liked Brother Ira North. I still follow his philosophy. He once said he never heard a 40-minute sermon he couldn’t condense to 20 minutes and make it better.
“I enjoyed `Fessor’ as a teacher and Dr. Morris P. Landiss. I wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar and the teachers knew that.
“I majored in health and physical education at Lipscomb. I also have a Masters from Peabody in health and physical education.”
Where do you live now?
“I live in Linden, Tennessee. I am a mile from the church building.”
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I retired from Freed-Hardeman in 1993 after being there 30 years. I was preaching at Linden then. I started there in 1983. I started preaching at Brush Creek Church of Christ in 1969 and preached there for over 13 years.
“I coached in high school and then I started coaching at Freed-Hardeman in 1963. I coached baseball and basketball and taught a full load of classes.
“I never thought when I was at Lipscomb I would be a preacher. When I went to Freed-Hardeman to work they wanted me to direct their youth camp. They had a great youth camp. I did that for 20 years and it was the best 20 years for me. I run into people all of the time that still call me `Coach’.
“I spoke at the devotionals. The school president H.A. Dixon, a great man, was there one night. He told me, `Brother Kirk, you should be preaching somewhere.’ I heard about Brush Creek needing a preacher and I said I would preach there. I still am close to so many people from there.
“I am in my 34th year preaching for the Linden Church of Christ. The people at the Linden church have been very kind to me. This whole county has been good to me.”
Tell us about your family.
“My daughter, Patti Haston, was killed in 1999 by a tornado. She was a great teacher. My grandson is Kirk Haston (former Indiana University basketball player).
“I lost my (first) wife, Bettye, a few years ago in an accident. I then married, Barbara (Poindexter). who I had been friends with for over 50 years. She had been married to my first cousin, Jim Savage, and he died in 1990. She was a widow for 16 years. I kept her in the family. She has been a jewel for this old man.”
Your email address?
"I do not have email."