Hubert Chittam
Class of 2024

Hubert Chittam

The 1956 basketball season was historically special on multiple levels for the West Limestone High School Wildcats. The team recorded an impressive 26-4 record and defeated Hackneyville High School 69-62 to claim the first state championship in school history. The championship marked the first state championship awarded by the Alabama High School Association to any high school of any sport in Limestone County. The sparkplug for that great West Limestone team was point guard Hubert Chittam. The 2024 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee led the team in free throw percentage, assists and steals. He was a member of the state tournament All-Tournament Team.

Former high school teammate and 2005 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Tommie Smith says that Chittam was the catalyst behind the Wildcats success. “Hubert was a really good floor leader. As the point guard, he got the basketball where it needed to be. He was an all-around good basketball player. Hubert could handle the basketball very well and was a strong defender. He was a good shooter and teams didn’t want to put him on the free throw line because he rarely missed. Hubert was just an excellent all-round athlete. He was a very good baseball player,” said Smith.

Chittam says that a West Limestone High School booster predicted the 1956 basketball team would end their season in Tuscaloosa. “Fred Robertson, Sr. said he was going to buy a car so he could carry us to play in the state tournament. His prediction came true. We stayed in some old army barracks in Tuscaloosa. We were kind of awe struck playing in Foster Auditorium. A few weeks prior, a University of Alabama basketball player by the name of George Linn, made what was at the time the longest shot in college basketball history. The shot was marked by an X and it was around 85 feet from the basket. We were amazed by how far that shot was. I wasn’t much of a scorer but I scored 22 points in our first state tournament game. It seemed like that every time I scored more than my season average, it was always 22 points. I guess it had something to do with the number 22 I wore on my jersey,” laughed Chittam.

Once his playing days were over at West Limestone, he said that a chance meeting with the principal at Clements High School led him to the next stop in his athletic career. “I was attending a play at Clements High School one night and was back stage. The principal was Dick Newman. Now, Mr. Newman was a big man. He saw me and put his hands on me. I thought I was in big trouble and then he asked what I was doing here and why wasn’t I playing ball somewhere. I told him that I guessed colleges thought I wasn’t good enough. Mr. Newman said he was going to make a phone call on my behalf to his friend Kermit Smith who was the basketball coach at Martin Methodist College. Coach Smith came to my dad’s house a couple days later and offered me an athletic scholarship,” said Chittam.

Chittam would play basketball and baseball for Martin Methodist. His most impressive athletic accomplishment while living in Pulaski, TN. was when he struck out 22 batters in one game while pitching for an Independent League baseball team.

One of Chittam’s best friends on his Martin Methodist basketball team was former Ardmore High School star Kenneth Lewter. “Kenneth was one year ahead of me at Martin Methodist and he was going to play at Athens College. My dad got sick and I thought I was just going to work and go to night school. I told Kenneth what I was going to do and he told me to hold on that he was going to check on something. He talked with Coach Alford who was the basketball coach at Athens College about me and Coach Alford offered me a full scholarship to play basketball and baseball at Athens College,” said Chittam.

Chittam would play two seasons with the Bears before graduating and eventually launching a successful real estate business in Limestone County. Chittam says he was surprised about his induction into the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. “When I got word that I was being inducted, the news kind of took me by surprise. I am honored to be inducted into a hall of fame that includes so many great players and coaches. My high school teammate Tommie Smith and my high school coach Harry Richter have been inducted. I am so grateful that I was part of something that was so special and historic at West Limestone High School. The Decatur Daily ran a poll a few years back wanting to know what were the best basketball teams in this area from previous decades. Our 1956 team was named the top team of the 1950’s. Coach Richter said we might not have been the most talented team but we had the most heart,” said Chittam.