The 2013 West Virginia Boys State Basketball Tournament in March will mark a special milestone for the event.
The tournament, which draws 1,000s of fans each year, will be in its 100th year.
Organizers are planning a big celebration for the century of state tournament basketball.
Gary Ray, the executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (SSAC), announced special events will take place during this year’s tournament which gets underway March 13 at the Charleston Civic Center.
A banquet is scheduled for Tuesday evening, March 12 and tickets are available.
There will be a memory book that the SSAC is preparing which will have photos of every state championship team since the first year the tourney began. Those will be sold at the tournament.
Mingo County has had several teams in the past that won state championship trophies. Starting with Burch in 1957, Lenore in 1962, Kermit in 1964 and 1975, and Williamson won its first of many in 1964. The Wolfpack went on to win four in the 1980s and another title in 2001. Burch won one in 1989 and a couple of more in 1991 and 1993. Every school in the county played in the state tournament at one time or another.
There will be tables of memorabilia from years past set up outside the arena with pictures and other items on display for fans to view.
Ray says the tournament has produced some of the biggest names in basketball.
Several guest speakers have been lined up for the banquet including former Logan coach Willie Akers, who led Mullins to the 1955 state title and later played at WVU. He coached Logan to state championships in 1964, ”77, ‘78 and ‘83.
Warren Baker, who led Greenbrier East to the 1972 championship and played four seasons at WVU is another speaker, along with Dave Barksdale, who played on the Woodrow Wilson championship team in 1962 and coached the Flying Eagles to titles in 1990, ‘92, ‘93, ‘97 and ‘98.
Jeff Schneider, a first-team all-state selection for four years at Washington Irving and the first two-time winner of the state player of the year award in 1977 and ‘78 and Ergie Smith, who coached Gary District to a title in 1965 and Gary High School to a title the following year will also speak.
The committee invited Jerry West and Mike D’Antoni, but they both could not attend because of previous obligations. West is now a special consultant with the Golden State Warriors, while D’Antoni is coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.
The very first tournament game was played in 1914 in Buckhannon. Elkins battled Wheeling. The winner was Randolph County.
To learn more about all the events going on during tournament week, log on to www.wvssac.org and click on the 100 Years of Basketball icon.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)