Unsung sports stalwart Ferguson quite deserving of HOF induction

The 2019 National Sports Hall of Fame inductees will have to wait a bit longer this year, before they are showcased and saluted. The celebration normally takes place at Government House with the governor general of The Bahamas as the patron.

The event was initially scheduled for the final weekend of November, but C.A. Smith, governor general, has a travel engagement. He will be available, though, for Tuesday, December 3, and that’s when due tributes will be paid to the new class.

As always, those selected represent a group of stalwart contributors to sports development in the country, over many years. In my view, the most unsung of the group is Stancil “Stoney” Ferguson, and today, I place him in the spotlight, a place he has seldom been throughout his long and productive sporting career.

Ferguson has always been somewhat of an enigma. In the early years, he was quiet and mysterious. He would be in a setting and hardly utter a word. How he came out of the bosom of a St. Bernard’s/Kentucky Colonels community, to end up being one of the pillars of the Old Oak/Beck’s Cougars franchise, is still puzzling to some.

So, there he was, a fierce rival for many years, of friends he actually grew up with and crafted his game alongside, at Our Lady’s court, tucked in the Catholic Diocese Complex on Deveaux Street (Over-The-Hill, New Providence).

Indeed, Ferguson demonstrated a capacity to be different, but a loyalist to commitments made, he opted for the Cougars and thus, his legacy is linked. He was significant in the shaping of the Cougars’ brand (with just the lone realistic comparison provided by St. Bernard’s/Colonels).

As a player, Ferguson was steady, but unnoticed for the most part, because of the glittering stars the Cougars paraded out on court during a majestic period of basketball in the country (1960s/1970s).

He was lost among the likes of the more colorful Fred “Papa” Smith, Peter “Sweet Pete” Brown, Jayson “Pegs” Moxey, Samuel “Bookie” Johnson, Peter “The Cud” Gilcud, Anthony “Kiah” Bosfield and the late, venerable Coach Gully Rolle.

In later years, Ferguson became more outspoken, but I can personally attest to the early low-key, somber, demeanor that characterized him. I was a bench-warmer on the Aquinas College varsity squad 1965/67, coached by the irrepressible Vince Ferguson. Stancil Ferguson was the starting small forward, on the front line along with power forward Gary Newbold and center Pat Sands. Andrew Richardson was the starting point guard and Clifford “Nine” Moss was his backcourt mate.

Stancil was easily one of the top three players on the squad (Moss and Newbold, the other two). However, Moss with his nifty drives to the basket and his quickness to and with the ball, plus, Newbold with his flashy style, shared the limelight mostly. Ferguson, though, in my close-up view, was the key foundation piece, going about his business quietly, but in a productive manner, game after game.

St. Augustine’s College (SAC), St. John’s College and Prince William High produced the prime high school teams at the time, but Aquinas was popular. Even following defeats, our home games were always crowded with patrons, fellow students of the playing teams, and the host school supporters from the surrounding Culmersville and Valley communities.

Ferguson was always a leader, quiet though he was.

With the Cougars, as he got older and gave way to younger players, Ferguson became appreciated for his administration contributions to the franchise.

The spotlight time has finally come for “Stoney” in a huge way. He will grace the Government House Ballroom on December 3, with Alfred “Ali” Culmer, Basil “The Kid” Sands, Raymond Tucker, Ambrose Gouthro, Ray Whylly, Jackie Conyers, Prince Zorro Stubbs, Dr. Linda Davis, Walter Callender, Paul Wong and Ronald Cartwright.

Ferguson is surely a great fit.

Continued best wishes to you “Stoney”, as well as your fellow National Hall of Fame classmates of 2019.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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