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BOB QUINNEY

Medford High, 1961

As Medford High's Bob Quinney prepared to jump center against Marshfield's Mel Counts in the Class 4A state championship basketball game at Eugene's McArthur Court in 1960, he was taken aback by the height differential.

Quinney stood a shade under 6-foot-5; Counts was a legitimate 7 feet.

The first time up court, he turned toward the basket and his butt was in my chest, says Quinney.

Quinney may have been momentarily disconcerted, but he was hardly intimidated. He and his Black Tornado teammates took the ball at Counts enough times to foul him out early in the second half, and Medford secured a 63-56 victory.

The hoop title was sandwiched around state championships in football and baseball during the 1959-60 school year. The clean sweep of the major sports 'a triple crown of sorts ' has yet to be matched by a Class 4A school in Oregon.

— Quinney, who played end in football and pitcher in baseball, played a role on all three title teams even though he was just a junior.

I really wasn't too interested in football, says Quinney, now 60 and practicing law in Eugene. But it was such a popular sport in Medford that everyone wanted to be on the team. You could be third-string in football and you'd be better known than if you were a starter in basketball.

The 1959 football team went 12-0 and outscored its opponents 472-78.

Quinney's greatest thrill that school year, however, came in baseball. He was coaching third base when Lowell Dean blasted a 350-foot home run in the fourth inning of the state championship game against Parkrose. The solo shot tied the game at 1-1, and Medford went on to a 3-1 victory to complete the triple crown.

We were struggling offensively and then all of a sudden ' boom ' Lowell Dean knocks that ball out of the park, says Quinney. The ball went down the left-field line, and I had the best view of it. I knew right then we were going to win.

The Black Tornado fielded probably just as much talent during Quinney's senior year, but fate wasn't as kind. The football team rolled over its first 10 opponents by an average score of 44-8 but suffered a stunning, 20-14 loss to David Douglas in the state semifinals.

In basketball, Medford again advanced to the state championship game ' this time against Southern Oregon Conference rival Klamath Union. With the scored tied at 66-66 late, Quinney drove the baseline and missed a layup.

At the other end, his man scored and the Pelicans walked off with a 68-66 win.

Everyone remembers that missed layup, says Quinney. What they don't remember is that I made five straight jumpers in the fourth quarter that kept us in the game.

But it was probably a good thing. It's allowed me to stay humble all these years.

Quinney had a good basketball career at Brigham Young, breaking into the Cougars' starting lineup as a sophomore. When he was a senior in 1965, BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country but lost to a UCLA team that featured Gail Goodrich and Keith Erickson in the NCAA Western Regionals.

As proud as Quinney is of his own athletic achievements, he's even more proud of what his four sons have accomplished.

Jeff, 25, won the U.S. Amateur golf tournament in 2001 and had a stellar career at Arizona State. D.J., 30, played football at Oregon. Mark, 33, was a standout tennis player who was ranked as high as 400th in the world. And Rob, 33, played golf for the Ducks.

Eugene's a good place to raise a family, but I certainly don't regret growing up in Medford, says Quinney. It was terrific.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail