JOHNNY LLOYD, SEVIER HIGH SCHOOL, 4 SPORT COACH
Johnny Lloyd, a two-sport star-basketball and baseball
athlete. He toured the world as a Globetrotter!
The Ferriday athlete probably played before more fans than any other Ferriday-produced product. During his lifetime he saw a varied life – playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, playing in the Negro American baseball league and in the minor league baseball system. Then he returned to Ferriday to coach.
Johnny “Cuz/Licky” Lloyd’s childhood began as so many others, playing baseball and basketball in the streets, fields and vacant lots. Basketball was his first love, and he got his chance at Sevier Rosenwald School. Lloyd was an All-State performer for Sevier. He averaged 14 points per games. He played his college ball at Southern University, where he was an All Southwestern Athletic Conference player who averaged 24 point per game before joining the Globetrotters for the 1947-1950 seasons.
During the seasons with the Globetrotters, they “played everywhere except behind the Iron Curtain.” They toured the States, Europe, and Canada; and, he was on the first Globetrotter team to tour Alaska. He played before a crowd of 100,000 in Brazil, which is probably one of the largest crowds ever to see a basketball game. While with the Globetrotters, Lloyd played with the likes of the immortal “Goose” Tatum, Erma Robinson and Marcus Haynes. He roomed with “Sweetwater” Clifton. His wife, Cleonia, said the only time she could recall Lloyd weeping was when the word of the death of Globetrotter owner, Abe Saperstein, reached him.
Coach Lloyd remembered his days with the Trotters and held many fond memories. He was a hot shooting, run and gun guard from his days at Sevier, Southern and the Globe- trotters. He missed the movie on the Trotters since it was filmed after he turned his attention to baseball.
For two years in his career, he spent all winter and fall on the road with the Globetrotters; then he was with baseball leagues in the other months. After three years with the “Trotters,” he chose baseball. It was hardest of times being a black breaking into baseball. He entered into organized ball at a game in Ferriday pitting the Birmingham Black Barons against the Cincinnati Clowns in the old Negro American league. He also heard the jeering taunts of “nigger” and “gator bait,” as he was one of the first black baseball players to perform in the South.
Because of the dual careers, he spent only two or three weeks each year in his home at Ferriday. It was the manager of the Cincinnati team who asked Lloyd, who was then a member of the Trotters, to “find me a shortstop.” That’s what he had always played, so he went to the field behind the local radio station and told the manager, “I am it,” and played he said. The next night Cincinnati played in Monroe, LA against the Kansas City Monarchs and Satchel Paige, and “I went with them,” he said, recalling the Clowns were expecting a shortstop from the Mexican league to arrive soon. When that shortstop arrived, Lloyd got his first lessons in outfield play, and after two seasons his attention shifted to baseball. Aside from his brief experience in the Negro American league in Ferriday and elsewhere, he didn’t play extensively in the Negro-leagues.
Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in the major leagues in 1947, and after a spring training stint with the Chicago American Giants in the Negro league, Lloyd signed with the Boston Braves organization. While he was in the Braves system, he was one of the few blacks in the minors – so few in fact that he could remember the names of most. He named off “Earl Smith, Sam Jones, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Minnie Minoso, George Crowe and Percy Howard. They caught hell. It was hard being a black ball player in the South.” He mentioned Fort Smith, Arkansas as one bad stop and another in Oklahoma.
He felt that in a different time he might have made the majors, pointing out he once hit .371 in the Canadian league. He felt blacks “were kept down,” but expressed no regret at the huge salaries the players make today.
It meant much to him to know he helped pave the way. In the minors Lloyd played against Jim Gilliam of the Dodgers, played with Ken and Clete Boyer, who later were stars with the Cardinals; and Earl Weaver, a former manager of the Orioles, was in the minors with him.
Even though he played two sports, Johnny Lloyd never saw “the big money.” As a Globetrotter, his salary ranged from a low of $350 a month to a high of $500 a month. His largest minor league pay was $450 monthly. He “went for the money.”
So, in 1951 he took a big jump from the American baseball system to Canadian ball. That drew him a three years suspension from the commissioner. But when that suspension was up, his life had already taken a change. He had been working on his degree, and in 1954 he had the choice of rallying for his chance in the majors or coming home to Ferriday and going into teaching and coaching. He opted for Ferriday. He had offers to coach in Rome, New York; Baton Rouge, LA; and other places, but he wanted to come home.
He was 32 years old when he first entered a classroom in Ferriday as a teacher and coach. He coached at Sevier High School for 13 years, and some of his most memorable moments in coaching at Sevier were in 1957; he took his basketball team to the state championship games.
One autumn day in 1957, Mr. Lee, Coach Lloyd and Principal A. D. Clark were talking when Mr. Clark said, “Why don’t we start a football team?” Later Coach Lloyd mentioned this to his basketball team. After that, they hustled onto the field to start to practice football for the first time. That was the start of Sevier High School’s football history.
The coaches of football for the beginning years were head coach, Johnny Lloyd, and assistant coach, Chester Wattree. The first uniforms were only practice pants and sweatshirts. The team not only practiced but also played in these. Coach Lloyd had to print the numbers on the uniform. Three of the players from that team went on to play college football. Quincy Boyd went to Kansas State, George Brown to Arkansas State, and Ernest Lewis to Indiana State.
Coach Lloyd had only one losing season; that was the first year. The next year they were 4 and 4.
Early in his coaching career, he was the head football, basketball, baseball and track and field coach. The track and baseball teams would practice on the same field at the same time. In 1966 the baseball team won the district and bi-district championship. Due to a technicality they missed out on playing for the state championship.
He coached football through the 1969 season when the schools integrated; and without a doubt, his most famous pupil is Robert Barber, who was a pro standout with the Green Bay Packers.
He organized track and field in 1960. In only four years of the school’s track and field team’s existence, he coached members of the 1964 track and field team that won the 100-yard dash and the 440-yard relay in state championship competition. In 1966 he helped coach the team to the first state championship in the history of the school. Track and Field News named one of his track members (Henderson Cook), one of the best performers in the 220-yard dash. Cook came in second in the 100- yard dash to Kirk Clayton who tied the high school world record, 9.4 at the Pelican Relays in Baton Rouge.
Coach Lloyd, better known as “Cuz” or Licky,” had a certain way with people that made him well liked by everyone. Several benefited immensely from the coaching of Mr. Johnny Lloyd.
Lloyd was inducted into the Southern University Hall of Fame May 10, 1990. Johnny Lloyd was presented with a plaque (along with several other former Southern athletes who went on to participate in sports after college) during the ceremony at the university. Lloyd was recognized as having lettered in two sports — basketball and baseball. He set Southern University records in basketball scoring and Southwest Athletic Conference scoring with a 42- point record in a basketball game while at the university.
Coach Johnny “Licky” Lloyd
FOUR-SPORTS HEAD COACH
Track and Field Baseball Basketball Football