Weatherford Democrat

Sports

April 16, 2013

Booster cheering for WC since 1950s

They call him the Bubble Gum Man.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone down courtside and given bubble gum to players before games,” said Charlie Sullivan, a long-time Weatherford College basketball booster. “I’d even give it to officials, sometimes.

“Coaches liked that. They hoped chewing the gum would stop up their whistles.”

Charlie is almost 88 years old, and has been a fan of the Coyotes and Lady Coyotes — all Weatherford College sports — since moving to Weatherford in 1950 to work in his father’s grocery market on Main Street.

“I played against them in football and basketball in college when I was at Ranger, and it’s kind of funny that I have been cheering for them for all these years,” Sullivan said.

“Yes, (WC) used to have a football team. I even went out to the field and helped with the team. I wasn’t an assistant coach or anything like that, I just liked helping out.”

Charlie and his wife Nelda have been married nearly 70 years, and much of their life together has been spent at Weatherford College sporting events. Both are long-time sports fans, even before they met, which was fittingly at a basketball game Charlie was officiating.

“We get cards from kids all over the place who have played for Weatherford College, even from as far away as Slovakia,” he said. “Most of the kids here don’t even know my name. They just call me the Bubble Gum Man.”

Charlie and Nelda moved away for a few years, living in Houston and then near what is now called the mid-cities area, but came back to Weatherford in 1958.

But even during their time away, they still supported the programs. Once, when the women’s team wanted to come to Houston for a tournament, he and Nelda put them up.

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