MARY MEAUX — Lincoln High School reunion events planned, special honor for Coach Gamble

Published 12:36 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

Lincoln High School 1981 graduate Frank Neal summed up his alma mater’s upcoming events in an oh-so-perfect way.

“The Lincoln community is a family. That’s what we are and what we are having is a family reunion,” Neal said.

The Port Arthur Lincoln Basketball Reunion Weekend kicks off with a golf tournament Friday, a massive pep rally at the pavilion Friday night and a sold-out basketball reunion at the civic center Saturday night.

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Neal said the purpose of the festivities is to raise money for the James Gamble Classic.

The upcoming pep rally is expected to bring in between 1,500 to 3,000 people, some of which are flying in from California, Seattle, Florida and New York.

“It will be amazing,” Neal said.

Friday night will be a chance to honor many of the school’s organizations, such as the Honeybees, cheerleaders, twirlers, football, drum majors and band, to name a few. As of Wednesday there was 75 Honeybees, 30 cheerleaders and approximately 16 twirlers set to take part in the pep rally. They range from members of the class of 1962 to the closing of the school in 2002.

The Saturday night, sold-out Basketball Reunion honoring Coach Gamble will be held at the Bob Bowers Civic Center.
Neal said 1,200 will be in attendance, and if there had been more room, he would have added more tables.

The reunion will be a time to recognize school organizations and former athletes, everyone from faculty members to Key Club and on — “every part of Lincoln.”

“Lincoln was different. We were like family,” he said, describing the camaraderie held by Lincoln graduates.

Teachers looked out for students, cafeteria workers made sure students had food to eat, it was, and is, a community.

“People asked why Lincoln was so crazy. All we had was ourself,” he said. “We always felt like the Cinderella in the family, that’s why we bonded together. Teachers either went to school with our parents or were taught by our parents. That made our bond even stronger.”

Neal continued, saying the closeness was seen in church, where one might see their teacher in the congregation or one’s parents were friends with the pastor and wife. Families would shop at Howards and see their teachers there and, if not, they’d see them in church on Sunday.

“Our everyday life was intertwined, that’s why Lincoln was so tight,” he said.

Neal, who was a member of the 1981 state championship basketball team, looks forward to honoring Coach Gamble.

Gamble served as basketball coach at Lincoln where he brought players to win four state championships; 1981, 1984, 1986 and 1988.

Gamble won 641 games at Lincoln between 1963 and 1988, and he returned after retiring for the 1998-99 season to post a record of 29-6 and a state runner-up finish, according to archive information.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at