Confronting Racism

As told to Audry Hardy

Here is another Rohe Era story shared with me by the late Wayne Whigham shortly before he passed in 2013. After one of the SEC Meets in Alabama, a couple of ‘good ole boys’ drove by the motel where the team was staying. They yelled out some ‘ugly epitaphs’ as they rode by. El Wayne threw a rock at the truck and yelled …come back and say “your peace.” The truck turned around, came back and one of the good ole boys got out of the truck to confront Wayne. Wayne thought “Oh Crap!” However, as the good ole boy was making a racial point with Wayne, one of our shot putters, Tom Stock I believe, walked up and hit this good ole boy between the shoulder blades. Wayne said, “That boy dropped like a sack of potatoes.” There are other stories where Wayne Whigham’s, aka El Wayne’s, mouth has gotten him in trouble.

El Wayne threw a rock at the truck and yelled …come back and say “your peace.”

Gibbs Hall

​Here is another El Wayne story. I was sitting in El Wayne’s Gibbs Hall room one morning when a couple of huge football coaches came to Wayne’s Room. It seems that Wayne had addressed a member of the dorm mother’s staff (Mrs. Bacon was the dorm mother) with an unflattering word that rhymes with “witch”. The coaches were there to instruct the El Wayne on how Southern ladies should be addressed. As I sat there between Wayne and the coaches, it dawned on me that this was not my battle as it was not a racial issue. I got up and left Wayne sitting on his bed as the Coaches towered over him. Never spoke to Wayne about the outcome of this meeting. However, there is no instance where a lady should be addressed with any word that rhymes with “witch”.  As for language, Wayne remained in a learning mode during his Vol experience. As for me I never felt bad for abandoning my teammate. I am sure if the shoe had been on the other foot, he may have done the same….perhaps! What A Day.