Roll Red: a 150 Year Timeline of MBA

Welcome to the journey of MBA! All images are from the archival collection housed on campus at the Patrick Wilson Library. A special thank you to Ridley Wills II and the use of his book, The History of Montgomery Bell Academy.

The Late-1930's

In school year 1939-40, MBA educated 103 students in three buildings. Encompassing grades seven through twelve, tuition was $135 for grades seven and eight and $165 for the high school.

Bennie Gentry

Benny Gentry, MBA's football captain in 1937, led the team to a 9-1 season. In the final game of the year, against Central for the city championship, MBA won 33-0. Gentry was named by the Nashville Banner as the city's most valuable player and went to Georgia where he played fullback. Gentry served during World War II but was killed in a training exercise early in the war.

Currey Gymnasium

This picture shows the gym under construction. The completed building was dedicated on January 17, 1958 at halftime of the MBA-Hillsboro basketball game. The gym was named for former Board of Trustee chairman Brownlee O. Currey, nicknamed "B-Lee" by his classmates, who graduated in 1920, attended Vanderbilt, and founded Equitable Securities in 1930. Before his death in 1952, he was the most influential member of the University of Nashville Board of Trust.

Headmaster Francis E. Carter Jr.

Francis Carter, who served as headmaster until 1978, was charged by the board to run MBA as a school of high scholarship, but with a southern twist. His wife, Cary Carter, loved sports and was in charge of the cheerleaders during her first five years at MBA. Headmaster Carter coined the phrase "gentleman, scholar, athlete," words that remain as the ideals for all MBA boys.

The Alma Mater

Several members of the Alumni Association persuaded songwriters Beasley Smith and Ralph Freed to write an alma mater for MBA. The trustees voted to accept it as the official school song, a decision that was later ratified by a vote of the student body.

Wallace University School

Wallace University School, founded by Professor Clarence Baine Wallace, was a long-standing rival. Prof. Wallace retired at age 82, and the school closed. A number of former Wallace classmen enrolled in MBA, and their presence boosted enrollment to approximately 170.

Students in 1893

Handwritten inscription on this photo: A group picture of a part of the boys of Montgomery Bell Academy, taken 1893."

Joe C. Davis

Joe Davis. MBA '37, won Mid-South singles title three times while at MBA and the SEC singles title three times at Vanderbilt. Davis reigns as MBA's all-time tennis great.

The Tommy Owen Legacy

Tommy Owen is a legend at MBA. Hired as head football coach in 1953, Owen coached generations of boys until his death in 1993. MBA's home football field is now Tommy Owen Stadium.

MBA vs. Litton

The official program of the Thanksgiving Day battle between Isaac Litton High School and MBA. Held to benefit a proposed child guidance clinic, MBA unfortunately fumbled in the fourth quarter and lost 32-20.

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