These three words have quickly become a phrase used by the Dalton community to show pride in its schools. But what exactly does it mean to be Dalton?
One thing that runs deep is the rich heritage of Dalton High football. Randal Davidson, whose voice is now synonymous with Dalton athletics, is releasing a book that looks back over the prestigious history of the Catamounts football program.
Catamounts! The Glorious History of Dalton Football is expected to be published and ready to go by early September—and he hopes by the opening home football game vs. Calhoun on Sept. 7. The book is the first of two volumes with this edition covering the years 1924-1969. The second volume will be ready by September 2013.
Davidson, who has been the voice of the Catamounts for 18 years and a history teacher at Dalton High since 2004, said he was simply doing research on Dalton football and was not even thinking about the possibility of a book.
“My intention was not to write a book,” Davidson said. “I started doing research just to add to the football commentary.”
As Davidson spent a decade of his life and hours upon hours in libraries making copies of files and sorting through old newspaper articles, he realized just how interesting and rich Dalton High football history is.
“Dalton has so much tradition that I didn’t know,” said Davidson, who grew up around Atlanta. “I just kept going back and going back until I found the football program began in 1924.”
Three weeks after the first mention of the program, Dalton played its first game in the second week of October 1924 against LaFayette. Dalton lost 34-0. Four weeks later, the schools met again and the squads tied. After making such progress in one month, it was after this game that the team members voted to make their mascot the Catamounts.
Davidson decided a month ago to split the book into two volumes once he realized how much information appeared from the 1960s through the present.
“Not many people are going to read a 500-page book,” Davidson said. “It looks nice on the shelf, but I want people to read this book. I want them to see these people that came before them.”
As expected, the amount of information varies by era. “Anything before the 1950s is a bit fuzzy. There’s not much there for the 20s and 30s, but there’s so much stuff starting with the 60s. There are more photos and more information, and sometimes with earlier games, there’s just a final score.”
One of the most interesting things Davidson found while digging is the personal interest side of the program. Shadows of war and the Great Depression pop up in the program, as does the disappearance of the football program all together—Dalton dropped football in 1933 because the uniform bill was too high.
A reoccurring theme that Davidson noticed while looking at Catamount history is the reappearance of last names. This proved to Davidson that families were keeping their children in the red and white and were following in the footsteps of fathers and grandfathers.
“Football brought people together,” he said. “It’s a fabric of the community.”
After releasing Catamounts! The Glorious History of Dalton Football Volume I, Davidson has more book dreams: he is still working on the final touches of Volume II, a piece about the 1967 state championship team, and a book that looks at the golden age of football in northwest Georgia.
Davidson said anyone who is interested in Dalton football should read the book. He also has woven history of the city, such as the fire of 1911, into his work to appeal to those who simply love learning more about the history of their hometown.
To reserve a copy of Catamounts! The Glorious History of Dalton Football Volume I, you may email Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.daltonfootball.com. The book will be $17 until the September release, and will then go to $20. After publication, the book may be bought at football games, http://www.daltonfootball.com/ and various locations throughout town.
By Lindsey Derrick, Dalton Public Schools Contributor