Editor’s Note – Longtime Lynchburg-Clay scorebook keeper and bus driver Jesse Mount was featured in the most recent issue of OHSAA Magazine with a story and pictures titled: He lives for this. Tim Stried, who wrote the story, said he heard about Mount during the state basketball tournament last March and made a note to write a story on him for the magazine. The feature included a photo of the front page of the Feb. 17, 2009 issue of The Times-Gazette that had a centerpiece on Mount titled: From Bobcats to Mustangs. Last June, The Times-Gazette inducted Mount into its Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame for this contributions to local athletics. The magazine story is reprinted below courtesy of the OHSAA.
Last March, the Lynchburg-Clay High School boys basketball team turned in one of the best seasons in school history and made a run all the way to the final four. There, sitting courtside for every game keeping the official scorebook, including the state tournament at the Schottenstein Center, was Jesse Mount.
Now 86 years young, Jesse has not only kept the scorebook for almost 70 years – yes, 70 – but he also drove the team bus for most of those years. There’s not a road anywhere near this tiny Southwest Ohio town located about 45 minutes northeast of Cincinnati that Jesse hasn’t traversed at some point, in any kind of weather.
Jesse survived polio when he was 9 years old and dabbled in playing basketball as a youngster. He played three years for Lynchburg High School before turning in his sneakers as a senior.
“We weren’t very good, and my senior year I decided to move on and let the younger kids play,” Jesse said from the school’s office. “But I still loved going to the games and before one game, coach asked if I would keep the scorebook. So I did, and I kind of liked it.”
And since he sharpened his pencil for the first game back in 1948, that has been his seat ever since. Along the way, he has just about seen it all. By day he started out as an accountant at Crosley Manufacturing in Cincinnati before becoming a farmer. He coached softball at L-C for 10 years – yes, he drove the team bus to road games – and he drove the volleyball team for almost 20 years.
Jesse also drove the bus for the girls basketball team for nearly that long, which led to one of his favorite memories, when he got to watch his daughters play high school sports. That includes when the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) first officially sanctioned girls basketball in 1976.
Last March wasn’t his first trip to Columbus with the boys basketball team. He was behind the wheel when the Mustangs made their first state tournament appearance in 1993. Prior to that, Jesse was honored to serve as the official scorekeeper at the OHSAA boys basketball state tournaments in 1986 and 1987 when they were held at the University of Dayton.
When he reached 60 years of service in 2009, Jesse was honored by the Southern Hills Athletic League and the OHSAA’s Southeast District Athletic Board. His awards also include induction into the Highland County Agriculture Society Hall of Fame.
“I think they thought I would stop keeping the book when I reached 60, so they decided they better give me a couple awards,” he said with a smile, and then he leaned in. “But I’m still waiting on a call from the sports Hall of Fame.”
Jesse doesn’t drive the bus anymore, but he still drives a van part-time for the school and keeps busy with five grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
A marker outside Lynchburg proclaims the town as the home of Ohio’s only covered bridge that spans two counties. It’s impossible to know how many times Jesse Mount has driven a school bus across that bridge, but it’s safe to say he is just as legendary in these parts as any piece of engineering.
For you see, Jesse Mount’s service to Lynchburg-Clay Local Schools spans generations.
Tim Stried is the director of communications for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.