The East High Alumni Page
Pictures, memories, memorabilia of specific interest to
the Class of 1962
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|East High will probably never again see as colorful a
sports figure as Doc Hoffman. Better basketball players may happen upon the Mustang
campus—but it is doubtful if any will possess the flair with which he did things.
Doc Hoffman developed into the Prep League legend in his own time. During the two years he led the Mustangs to championships, he also led in the imagination of every Prep League fan.
Some did not like him for his confident air and the way he helped defeat their team. But all respected his ability for getting things done— always the Doc-Hoffman-way.
And the Doc-Hoffman-way consisted of the spectacular.
Listing his remarkable feats is a catalogue of the Prep League basketball season. For an opener, he thrilled a packed Mustang gym in the first league game of the season by scoring ten straight points in the final three minutes for a 55-50 win over Treadwell.
During mid-season he once again captured headlines for his thrilling last-second shot that defeated Central, then the state's No. I team, 65-63. The morning editions of The Commercial Appeal capsuled the final moments: "During those last 13 seconds Hoffman had the overflow crowd of 1,300 at East worked into a frenzy of excitement. He calmly brought the ball up court, circled from the left to the right and with just five seconds left, dropped the basket from about 20 feet away that sent the Warriors reeling with defeat No. 2."
It was in the final league game of the slender senior's career that brought him the most acclaim and caused one Prep League coach of note to say, "That was the finest individual effort I have ever seen on a basketball floor."
The scene was Memphis State University's Memorial Fieldhouse and the occasion was the Prep League championship, pitting Western Division champion Central, bent on avenging the earlier defeat, against Eastern Division winner East High, the defending champion.
More than 4,000 fans packed into the field- house and Hoffman was the whole show, scoring 23 points in a convincing 55-49 victory. During portions of the game the desperate Warriors had three men trying to guard him and time after time he would leap in typical fashion, twist and with seemingly no aim at all, let fly with a destined two-pointer.
Becoming a talent of his caliber, the honors were numerous. He was selected to All-Memphis, All-District 36, All-Region Nine and to the All-State squad—the only Memphian selected for such an honor. It was in the Region Nine tournament that the end of the road came for the valiant Mustangs and Doc Hoffman. In an opening round game, Overton upset East High, 58- 54, for the second straight year and it was mainly because Doc Hoffman spent more than half the game on the training room table with a badly cut knee. For only playing in half a losing opening round game, Doc Hoffman was chosen on the all- tournament team. It was a proper ending to an exciting high school basketball career . . . written expressly for The  Mustang by Charles Cavagnaro, Sports Staff, The Commercial Appeal.
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