As the State Class B Basketball tournament began in Butte today, it occurred to me that it will be the 50th anniversary (March 20, 1970) of the Baker Spartans winning the first state championship for Baker High School which was also played in Butte.
My late husband, Joe Johnston, was the coach of the team along with assistants, Doug Dundas and John Hecker. The whole atmosphere of the 1969-70 season was magical with a superb and dedicated group of young men representing Baker High School. Over the years we were able to keep tabs on them through the efforts of Bill Eilek, and in 1995 we had a 25th reunion of the championship team and were so pleased with the successful men they had become.
The Baker cheerleaders, band, and dance team also made a big impression on the other schools at the tournament. The welcome home celebration that started with miles of cars greeting the Spartans as they approached Plevna along with the community gathering at the fairgrounds that was organized overnight was so memorable and appreciated.
Of course, in the past 50 years Baker has won a number of state championships in football and basketball, and we always kept up with the teams and felt a sense of pride along with Baker High School and your community in those accomplishments.
Our five years in Baker were certainly among the best of our lives. Joe died two years ago but always held Baker dear in his heart. The genuine, caring people of Baker made a huge impact on our family and will be remembered always.
My best to all of you who shared those memories of 50 years ago and to all the Baker Spartan teams in the years ahead. It was an honor to have been part of your wonderful school and community.