WILLIAMSON — The Williamson community is mourning the loss of a longtime area coach, educator and former Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce director as Cecil Hatfield died this past week at the age of 83.
Hatfield, who led the Williamson Wolfpack baseball team to its second state title in 1965, died Monday, Nov. 16, while in care at Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Kentucky, after a six-week battle with cancer, according to his family.
Hatfield grew up in Williamson and graduated from Williamson High School in 1954. He graduated with a bachelor’s in education from Berea College in 1959 and received his master’s in education from Morehead State University in 1962.
Hatfield settled in Williamson and began his career as an educator, first serving as a teacher at Williamson Junior High and High School. Hatfield eventually became assistant principal at the high school and later became the first principal of the new Williamson Junior High School.
Hatfield also served as director of the Mingo County Vocational School when it became its own school and while there initiated the school’s LPN program.
Athletically, Hatfield was best known for leading the Wolfpack to their only state title, but he was a familiar face with all WHS athletics. He also served as an assistant coach for the WHS football and basketball teams and later served as a head coach for the basketball and football teams at the junior high.
Hatfield was voted into the second class for the Williamson High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 and stayed active serving as president of the Hall of Fame’s board of directors until his death.
After retiring from the Mingo County school system, Hatfield served as the executive director at the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce for several years helping bring attention t Mingo County as a tourist destination. He and his late daughter, Sonya Hatfield Hall, were instrumental in developing the popular Hatfield and McCoy Marathon.
Hatfield was also an active member in the local Moose Lodge and in the BPOE Lodge, where he served as exalted ruler of the West Virginia Elks organization.
The Williamson community reacted to the news of Hatfield’s passing on social media.
“Hated to hear this news. He took a chance on some young baseball players in 1961 and developed us into a state championship team,” said Greg Slater, a member of the 1965 baseball state champions. “We will miss him. He did a lot for our school and alumni. Hope he and the other coaches are telling lot of stories in heaven.”
“To know Cecil was to love Cecil,” Tami Weaver Pinson said. “My memories of Cecil started when I was very young. He touched many people during his life either in education or with community service.”
“He was a TEACHER and a COACH, with capital letters,” local dentist and WHS Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Jerry Mounts said. “He could look at you when you were upset with you performance on the field or in the classroom, and you could think he was the meanest person ever. But that was a put on and only skin deep. Underneath, that put on was a HEART that cant be measured and made of gold. He always had time to listen and just to talk to you which helped us all grow and mature as grown men. You can’t replace Coach Hatfield, as he was THE MAN. The community has lost a GREAT ONE.”
“Mr. Hatfield was the community patriarch and my good friend,” Mingo County Schools employee Rob Channell said. “He will be deeply missed. Prayers for comfort, peace and understanding to the family.
Hatfield is survived by two daughters, Marsha (Marty) Wagner of Phelps, Kentucky, and Cecilia Lynn Barker of Williamson. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Gail Rose Perkins Hatfield; his daughter, Sonya Hatfield Hall; and his grandson, Benjamin Heath Wagner.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, private services were conducted Thursday at Rogers Funeral Home in Belfry and livestreamed on their Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial gifts to the First Baptist Church of Williamson at Fifth Avenue and Harvey Street or a donation to the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame at 1726 West Fifth Ave., Williamson.