Bill Wade was inducted into the Lenoir City Hall of Fame for his impact on the basketball court. At 6-foot-6, Wade was a dangerous rebounding presence for the Panthers, averaging about 15 boards per game in his career, while adding 14 points per game.
"I tried to be the best blue collar worker there was on that team," Wade said. "All good teams have got a good blue collar worker it seems. They rebound, they play defense, they hit people that need to be hit and that was my job."
Prior to his career at Lenoir City, Wade's family had moved around a lot since his dad helped build dams for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
"I was almost 16 years old when I moved back to Lenoir City," Wade said. "That was the first time I'd ever been in a gymnasium. I remember thinking how lucky I was to be going to a school with a gym."
During his junior season with the Panthers in 1956, he helped lead Lenoir City to a district runner-up season. As a senior, Wade helped the Panthers win the district championship, earning All-District, All-Region and honorable mention All-State honors. Wade was runner up for region MVP as a senior.
"I wanted to win more than anybody else did," he said. "I just wanted to play and I had to win."
Wade followed high school coach Tommy Bartlett, first to Carson Newman and then to Chattanooga. At Chattanooga, Wade was part of a 14-7 team on which he was one of the leading scorers and rebounders.
It was Bartlett that Wade credits with making him into a strong basketball player, as he never had formal coaching on any level prior to coming to Lenoir City.
Several injuries cost him to miss the 1959-1960 season, but in 1962 he received a scholarship offer to play at Wofford College, where he played two years.
Wade will be officially inducted into the hall Oct. 6 at the Lenoir City High School cafeteria. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with registration at 6 p.m.
"I really didn't think I'd be inducted," Wade said. "We had great teams right in front of me and right behind me. All of those guys deserve to go in and I never thought I would be inducted."
Cost for the event is $15 per person and must be paid in advance. Checks and names of those attending should be sent to LCHS Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 538, Lenoir City, TN, 37771.
Sept. 29 is the last day to make reservations to attend the banquet.