Ralph Clayton Champion was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on June 14, 1921. From playing sandlot ball as a child, he went on to an auspicious athletic career that touched many young lives. Ralph attended West Huntsville School during the first and second grade. He then transferred to Joe Bradley in the third grade, where he graduated in 1941. Ralph played football, basketball, and baseball while in high school. Ralph was the tackle on Bradleys football team and was named several times as the outstanding defensive player. The following quote from a 1938 Huntsville Times shows clearly why he was named outstanding player: Champion, Bradley tackle, grabbed the sphere as it came down and galloped 70 yards for a touchdown, breaking into a long lope as he neared the goal line. Football was not the only game at which he was a champion. Ralph played the forward position in basketball and was always a high scorer for his team. He was also a catcher and outfielder for the Joe Bradley baseball team. During the summer months, he boxed with the Merrimack Boxing Club. After graduating from high school, Ralph went on to pursue a boxing career in both the Marine Corps and Navy. The summer after graduating from high school, Ralph joined the Navy and served 32 months in the South Pacific during World War II. He then transferred to the Marine Corps where he continued a boxing career with a remarkable record of 58-1. Upon returning to Huntsville in 1946, Ralph married Lucy Crowson. He attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Athens State College, receiving degrees in education and physical education in 1954. Later he attended Alabama A&M where he continued his studies in the field of education. In July, 1954, Ralph Champion began his teaching and coaching career at Central School, coaching all the schools teams single-handedly for 32 years. Among these teams were the basketball, baseball, track, volleyball, and tennis teams. Coach Champion coached some of the first girls basketball teams in the county, taking them on to win championships. During his years at Central, Ralph won well over 600 basketball games. The school recognized his contributions in 1984 when the new Ralph C. Champion Gymnasium was dedicated at the school. At the some time, Alabama Resolution HJ.R. 277 commended Ralph for his illustrious coaching career. In addition to all of his other coaching duties, Ralph refereed many basketball and baseball games. He was instrumental in starting the Ryland Youth Baseball Program in the Central School area. He coached summer baseball leagues and led many All-Star teams to victory. The many years of Ralph Champions life have been dedicated to athletic endeavors, both as a player, coach, and teacher. Over the many years of his career, Ralph Champion not only coached ball teams, he also coached young men and women, teaching them to believe in themselves and to be the best they could be. Married to Lucy Crowson Champion, he has two daughters, both of whom are teachers, continuing the education tradition started by their father.