High school hoops legend tells tale of triumph away from the game

Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 8:19pm

On January 16, 1959, Bobby Langley scored 69 points for Franklin High. That, along with the 30 points he scored in the fourth quarter that night against Lewisburg, remain Middle Tennessee boys basketball records.

In his book Ruby’s Son, published last year, Langley chronicles what he calls “a journey from poverty to peace.” It started when he lived in an impoverished area called “Beasley Town” in South Franklin, in a house where his family had no plumbing or electricity in the early 1940s era.

The son of an alcoholic father, Langley pays tribute to his mother, Ruby, who raised six children in abject poverty. Langley pulled himself up by delivering the Tennessean and Banner as a paperboy, making $20 a week.

Realizing his talent in hoops early on, he credits then Battle Ground Academy coach J.B. Akin who allowed him and his friends to shoot in the gym, along Franklin High coach Ernest McCord who believed in him and many others who helped him along the way, in sports and in life.

Langley devotes but one chapter to his landmark game and the huge amount of publicity and recognition heaped upon him afterwards. But he also recognized his shortcomings academically, which cost him a chance to play in college.

There were many highs and lows, among them coming after his big game, then when neither parent attended his graduation in 1959.

Langley, 71 and retired, recounts “by the Grace of God,” in his words how he became a successful auto salesman in Franklin, just blocks from where he grew up.

Langley will have a book signing this Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Logo’s Book Store in Green Hills.