It was a cool fall night in October of 1975 and the Berry Buc cheerleaders were going throughout the Hoover community decorating the mailboxes of football players with orange and black colors and leaving a stash of candy with it as well. They had just left the corner house on Burning Tree Drive & Patton Chapel Road where player Bill Kitchings lived. Bill’s four-year old sister, Julie, had made it a habit to sneak out of the house and take some candy from the stash. She was learning that the month of October was a great month for candy especially the last day of it.
Julie grew up listening to her older brother speak of his football coach-Bob Finley whom he admired and respected. Bill would say that while Coach Finley was tough and didn’t put up with any foolishness he did have a kind heart. The young girl was like so many other kids in Hoover being raised to be an Buccaneer-black & orange through and through.
Julie completed her elementary education then attended Simmons Jr. High School where she competed athletically in volleyball, track, swimming and gymnastics while also making good grades and being involved in other school activities. She entered Berry High School in 1985 and narrowed her athletic interests to track and gymnastics while also being a member of the 9th grade cheerleading squad. Through her four years at Berry, she was involved in a wide variety of activities such as student council, choir, Fellowship of Christian Athletes among others. Her senior year saw her elected top senior class beauty as well.
Getting to know Coach Finley was a great experience for her and she shared a few of these when she contributed a story for the book about him as mentioned here: