By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia
A place called Stop 6, an urban neighborhood of Ft. Worth, TX, was not known for much more than economic hardships, illegal drug abuse, and gang violence.
Sitting in the heart of the community is Paul Laurence Dunbar High School which has proved to be a beacon of light, according to the makers of a new documentary about the life of legendary Dunbar High School basketball coach Robert Hughes.
The film, “5700 Ramsey Ave.” named after the address of Dunbar High School, reveals that despite the hardships and harsh realities of the neighborhood, the successes of Coach Hughes and the Dunbar basketball team helped to shine a positive light on the residents in the community.
Coach Hughes, who’s now 90 and coached Dunbar from 1973 to 2005, compiled an incredible record of 1,333 wins (most all-time) to only 262 losses in his illustrious career.
Coaching at Dunbar for over 30 years, Hughes would only experience one losing season in which the team would still make the playoffs while winning two state championships.
Under Hughes’ tutelage, more than 200 men earned college scholarships and, in part because of Hughes’ approach to the game, the coach earned the reputation as a mean, no-nonsense man when those who know him still say he’s nothing more than a gentle giant.
Hughes was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
“I spent 4 of the most incredible years of my life under the tutelage of Coach Robert Hughes. I knew something was terrific about his presence at the age of 14, but I had no idea how to translate what I felt into words,” said the film’s director Mike Byars, who played basketball at Dunbar under Hughes.
“I promised myself that if the opportunity ever presented itself, I would do some-thing special to honor his life,” Byars said.
Because the opportunity never came in the form of Hollywood documentarians, Byars said he created a documentary on his own – spending about 2 1/2 years making “5700 Ramsey Ave.”
“It was the very least I could do to show my gratitude for the life-long lessons he passed along to me,” Byars said.
The feature-length documentary is scheduled to debut at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, presented in partnership with the R.E.D.D.Y. Leadership Outreach.
“No matter where you go in the United States as far as basketball is concerned, Coach Hughes is well recognized,” Byars said.