Mr. Jacob Carmack "Cowboy" Range
b. 23 Dec 1914 - Johnson City, TN
d. 13 Jan 1980 - Newport News, VA

Milligan College, B. A.
College of William and Mary: M. A.

Physical Education, Varsity Football Coach, Jr. Varsity Basketball Coach,
Sponsor of the Senior Class of Senior Class of June 1951
Sponsor of the Freshman Class of 1957 ('60),
Sponsor of the Freshman Class of 1960 ('63)

    "Head Coach J. C. Range and Backfield Coach 'Pete' Robinson go over last minute strategy with fullback Don Hardy ('58) and halfback Woody Hudson ('57)."  
1951 Anchor, p. 78 1957 Anchor, p. 13 1957 Anchor, p. 127 1957 Anchor, p. 67
12/19/16 05/17/04 05/17/04 06/04/04


"It is our privilege as the graduating seniors of 1958 to dedicate our yearbook to a man who has devoted
unlimited time and effort for our benefit.  Due to his spirit of fairness and good sportsmanship,
he has been an inspiration and guidance in our everyday life as well as in the field of athletics. 
We shall always remember this past year and the man who strived to make our team one we could be proud of. 
Because of his understanding and humorous nature, he is respected not only as a coach but also as a true friend to all,
and so to the class of '58, Mr. J. C. (Cowboy) Range, you're the greatest coach, teacher, and friend a school could ever have."

1958 Anchor, p. 3
Daily Press, Monday, January 14, 1980 Daily Press, Tuesday, January 15, 1980 Monday, October 10, 2005, 12:43 PM
Peninsula Memorial Park
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 10/10/05
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 10/10/05
Image by Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 10/10/05
WOWZERONI!!!  Thanks so much, Dave!

Few people have affected my life more than Coach Range.
While I lacked weight, strength and skills to be competitive at Football,
he and Coach Pete Robinson permitted me to play 8th & 9th Grade football, and one year of Junior Varsity Football.
My contribution to the team was minimal but they permitted me to be a part of the team when it was so important in my life.

As important as this was to me during those early years, his mentoring and teaching later had
an even more profound effect on my life, for the lessons he taught were by his example.
He and Marvin Turley hired me as a Life Guard at the World War II Memorial Municipal Swimming Pool.
Little did they know how important that job was, since my dear father had undergone surgery in Charlottesville
for throat cancer, and had been unable to work at his job in the Shipyard for over 6 months.
This job met a family need, and was a great opportunity for me to grow and learn to accept responsibility.
(Looking back, he knew our situation, but never discussed it).
Most mornings, he picked me on Huntington Avenue where we lived, and took me to work.
After three years working as a Life Guard and Swimming Instructor, and having graduated from NNHS in 1957,
this was my transition to the real world, without a change in lifestyle.
We did earn our salary as Life Guards, and on one occasion I was on duty when a young girl
started drowning in the deepest part of the pool. She was nearest to my chair, so I responded.
After pulling her to the side of the pool, Nancy Keesee helped me get her out of the water, and I began Artificial Respiration.
After a few seconds, she came around, and emptied her stomach to my delight.
Little did I know, but her parents went to Coach Range and offered a full scholarship to VMI for me,
but Coach had promised not tell me who was providing such a gift or even why.
Coach was aware that I could not attend college, and had already enlisted in the Marines,
but while we were taking down the tarps, to close the pool,
he quietly told me that an anonymous donor wanted to provide me with a college education,
and they knew I loved Virginia Military Institute.
He never divulged the identify of the donor, but years later he told me of the event that lead to the offer.
This generous offer touched me so, for I had no idea anyone would do such a wonderful thing for another person.
My disappointment arose from not having the grades to enter VMI.
But the generosity shown in the offer was one of the greatest lessons of my life.
Sometimes, I still wonder if it wasn't really Coach Range who was willing to help me financially to get a college education,
or he might have suggested to the parents of a need when they expressed a desire to say "Thank You".
That is real love, in living color.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/04/04
 What a beautiful story!  Thanks, Joe!

Coach J.C. "Cowboy" Range was my very first boss! 
Actually it was 1972 and he was in the room with Dick Tyson and Bob Ascher and interviewed
me for the Dr Education department at the Newport News School Board.  My immediate boss was George "Dick" Tyson,
but Cowboy & Bob Ascher and Mrs. Williams all worked in Dr Ed/ P.E. & Health.  I was just a 17 year old VOT student
but had that job the end of 11th grade and all summer and all of 12th.  I loved them all.  It was such a positive first-job
experience.  I think I would have stayed but my brother had convinced me that Smithdeal-Massey in Richmond was the
business school I should go to... (it's out of business now!)  But, anyway, Cowboy was so witty - as were Dick and Bob too. 
He recognized my last name during the interview and recalled my brother (Steve Kiger - '66 - of VA)
played basketball at NNHS.  That helped!   He will always be fondly remembered.

- Gail Kiger Bonsey (Ferguson HS - '73) of OR - 01/26/05
Thanks, Gail!

J. C. "Cowboy" Range, another NNHS football legend - I was fortunate enough to know him but not really play for him.

- Joe Wingo ('65) of NC - 05/02/05
Thanks, Joe!

I have been trying to learn when Coach J.C. "Cowboy" Range passed away,
for one subscriber to the newsletter said he is in a nursing home, and another recalled
he had passed away. I have spent a few minutes searching, but have not found anything....

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/10/05
Thanks for the nudge, Joe!


If his first name was Jacob, then he died in NN in 1980, per the SSDI.

Name             Birth           Death           Age     Last Residence
                                    JACOB RANGE   23 Dec 1914     Jan 1980        65       Newport News, Newport News (city), VA 23606

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/10/05
Thanks, Dave!

Thanks, Dave:

That is the Coach! Jacob was his first name. He told me his middle name once,
but told me not to repeat it and I immediately forgot it not wishing to offend him.
Of course, everyone knew him by his popular nickname of "Cowboy".
I was using the Social Security Index on Family Tree Maker, which is supposed to be
current to 1992 ??? You apparently found it on line today, and it is very much appreciated.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/10/05
Thanks again, Joe!

Hi Dave:

Thanks for sharing the information regarding the late Coach..... The grave marker jumped
out at me because it helped me to recall his middle name from about 1955 or 1956 when he
shared it with me and asked me not to share it for he was very sensitive about his name,
including Jacob. Of course, he loved his "nickname" and almost everyone called him "Cowboy",
except for the least not to his face.

The reason it jumped out and jarred me so, my grandson in Overland Park, Kansas is named
John Carmack Hubbel.

My daughter gave him the middle name after her husband's grandmother's maiden name.

Thanks, again Cap'n Dave.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/10/05
Thanks once more, Joe!

Coach Range was a fine person.  When I came to NNHS in 1950 from 8 years at St. Vincent School, he
was my JV basketball coach.  He was an absolutely wonderful person inside and out and a hard-working
man.  We bonded and he is the one who encouraged me to play football and I finally went out in the
11th grade, playing 2 years of varsity football.  I remember my senior year, I hurt my knee in the last
scrimmage before our first game and he was at my home in my bedroom 3 or 4 days while I was down. 
That is the kind of man he was.  He cared for each and everyone of us.  We became good friends
and he taught me how to grow English boxwoods and I still have them today.  I went by his house
when he was sick and had a very nice visit.  He had written me letters in the past telling me how
proud he was of his old student.  Truly I know he's in Heaven because he was a mighty good person. 
He was witty also.  He always got lost driving us to Norfolk and he put the name "Bird" on Glenn Nelson
and Glenn is still called that today.  Glenn had glasses when he played basketball with a cage over them
and Coach Range said he looked like a big bird in a cage. 

Thanks for asking me to write something about Coach Range.  It was certainly my pleasure. 

Best regards,  Mickey 

- Mickey Marcella ('54) of VA - 10/11/05
Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Mickey!

Coach Range’s widow still lives in Riverside on Parkway Drive behind my dad. 
Her name is Irene and she is in her 80’s and in good health.

- Steve Pullen ('65) of VA - 10/11/05
Thanks, Steve! Dave Spriggs ('64 - of VA) had told me that Mrs. Range still resided in Newport News,
and I failed to mention it except to Joe Madagan ('57 - of FL). OOOPS.

Great stuff.  Coach Range was a wonderful man.  I remember interviewing him and his wife
before the annual NNHS-HHS Thanksgiving Football Game one year.  I had been at the
Times-Herald for about 2 years.  Such wonderful memories.  We are so fortunate to have been
students at NNHS with such great people -- fellow students and teachers.

- Harry Covert ('57) of VA - 10/11/05
Thanks, Harry!

Hi, Carol:

..... My daughter, Sharon Madagan Hubbel (mother of my aforementioned grandson, John Carmack Hubbel),
called, and she visited the website at my invitation, and was blown away by the possibility that
Coach Range may be related to her husband. She is gathering more information, since the
Carmack Family settled in Bristol, VA / Bristol, TN and some of the family moved to Johnson City, TN.
It is exciting to think of the possibilities a this point.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/11/05
WOWZERS!  Thanks, Joe!

When I took life saving classes with Coach Range at the pool, he'd have us tread water for a long time and then
ask if we were tired.  When some bozo would say he was, Coach would tell us we'd just earned another 10 minutes. 
His point was that you didn't gain endurance until you pushed through your wall of fatigue.  And he was right. 
So are all the writers of anecdotes of the man.  He was great too.

- Kathy Pilgrim Clark ('63) of VA - 10/12/05
Thanks, Kathy!

Home on the Range

*Traditional American Folk Song*

O give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

"Home on the Range" lyrics courtesy of - 06/04/04

"Home on the Range" midi (sequenced by Barry Taylor)
courtesy of - 06/04/04

Spinning Football clip art courtesy of - 06/23/08

Back to Teachers

Return to NNHS Class of 1965