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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bozman Field fitting tribute to great coach

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I noticed at a Homecoming game I attended some years ago that the Thayer High School football field had been fittingly named "Bozman Field."

Coming to Thayer straight out of Westminster College in Fulton to teach science and coach athletics in 1929, Louis Bozman coached the first football team at THS in the fall of 1932. (note: It has been said that teams existed before that, but no records are available).

Football progressed well at Thayer under his watch.

The Bobcats played in the South Central Athletic (SCA) Conference with Mountain Grove, West Plains, Cabool and Willow Springs. Ironically, it was in 1942, a year after Bozman, in 1941, was hired away to coach at West Plains, when Thayer won its first conference championship in football.

Louis left Thayer with more than experience.

He married Lida Risner, a Thayer girl in 1930.

She graduated from Thayer High School in 1929 and was named Miss Thayer, that same year.

She went on to become very well-known after they moved to West Plains, working for Eads' Store.

Beginning in the late 40s, she did the Eads' radio show where she sang and took requests for shut-ins, birthdays and anniversaries every Friday on KWPM.

Bozman coached at West Plains through the 1946 season when he became the first driver's education program teacher.

He taught driver's education until he retired from the school in 1969.

He continued to work, however, in the Office of Economic Opportunities (later called Ozark Action) and in 1977 put in a picture framing business at his home.

At the Homecoming game in 1982, the 1932 Thayer team was honored and Louis was presented a trophy.

Lida died some years ago but Louis lived up into his 90s.

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