A had a great lunch with sports radio host Frank Giardina, who was in Williamson on Wednesday doing some public relations work for the state’s Attorney General. Frank grew up in a coal camp in McDowell County, before his family moved to Kanawha County where he attended the old Dupont High School.
Frank is the former radio voice of the Thundering Herd of Marshall and the Penn State Nittany Lions. He still does some regional games as a free-lance broadcaster for ESPN. Frank and I recalled some of the old coalfield rivalries in southern West Virginia. As a child he attended games at the old Gary District High School and other black high schools. He is a former sports reporter for WSAZ and once did a segment on PM Magazine on the intense rivalry of the Williamson-Logan basketball series. We also recalled the great Northfork Blue Demons teams and the old gym there in Northfork.
Frank also recalled going to basketball games with his father at Mullens High School and watching Dan D’antoni play. Of course he is the older brother of Mike D’antoni, who is now the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. His brother was one of his assistant coaches when he coached in Phoenix and in New York. Both went on to play and star at Marshall University, after they played at Mullens for their father Lewis D’antoni, who is a legendary coach down in Wyoming County.
Frank also recalled how those former all black schools had great cheering sections and how they sang chants and cheers, which could be intimidating on a visiting team and their fans.
Frank loves visiting the southern West Virginia area and it is always a pleasure to talk sports, especially the old days, with one of the state’s premier sports enthusiasts.
… A fundraiser 5-K race will be held to help raise money for Josie Dillon and her family. All proceeds go to her medical recovery. Dillon was badly injured in a car accident. The run will be held in South Williamson, Ky. on Saturday, October 5. Registration is from 3:30pm - 4:45 pm at the race starting line located at 201 Central Ave., South Williamson. The race will start at 5 p.m.
You can pre-register on Facebook and the last day to register is Oct 4th till 5 pm. Runners can also register at the Coal House in Williamson. Entry fee is $20 for everyone, $10 fee for those 14 years old and under. T-shirts will be available and sponsorship is still available for these. (spread the word)
… Former WVU quarterback Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 69-yarder to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter, and the Jets (2-1) overcame a team-record 20 penalties to hang on and beat the Buffalo Bills 27-20 Sunday.
Smith, who also ran for a score, slightly outplayed E.J. Manuel in a matchup of the first two quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft.
… Nigerian center Henry Uwadiae verbally committed to the Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball program. Uwadiae is a 6-foot-11, 235-pound player for the Kirkwood Community College Eagles in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who reportedly made a Marshall visit Aug. 31.
… Mountaineer Athletic Club members and past season ticket holders have until Monday, Sept. 30, to reserve priority seating for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season. Single game tickets for non-conference games will go on sale Monday, Oct. 7. To order tickets, fans can stop by the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the Coliseum, call 1-800-WVU GAME or visit WVUGAME.com.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)