Recently, I wrote in regard to Jack Baisden Sr. being enshrined into the Artie Museum at what was called the West Virginia All-Sports Day that was conducted at the Raleigh County Armory near Beckley on July 6.
I am told by some who attended the affair that there were close to 1,000 people at the gala event, which was first started in 2016 by former state coaching sensation Tex Williams and a couple of his friends. This year's special guest speaker was former WVU All-American basketball great Rod Thorn, who also has the distinction of having been given the NBA Hall of Fame Award.
Unfortunately, there was no pre-event media coverage that I am aware of, perhaps because the seating capacity was limited to about 1,300 people. Therefore, it was unbeknownst to me that 80-year-old Baisden, although deservingly so, wasn't the only Logan Countian honored during the nearly six-hour event.
In fact, sitting at the head table that day were two former Logan High School coaches, Willie Akers and his former assistant, Jack Stone. While Willie was among the first individuals honored when the program started in 2016, along with NBA sensation Jerry West, Stone was inducted at this year's event. Also sitting at that particular table was the likes of former WVU grid coach Don Nehlen, former Marshall football coach Bob Pruett, and current Marshall head basketball coach Dan D'Antoni, as well as several other well-known sports personalities.
To top it off, seated at one of the many other tables provided for inductees, family members and guests was another honored former Logan athlete, who happens to be the son of Jack and Patricia Stone - Mike Stone, his wife and their family. Upon further review of the program for that day, I discovered that not only were both Jack and Mike honored for their athletic contributions in both college and high school sports, but being distinguished the same day was Chapmanville all-time greats Danny Godby and his son Deron and Ted Ellis, as well as both of Ted and Marlene's sons, Eric and Mark.
Now, to sort of add insult to injury, guess who else was being honored that same Saturday at what was termed "West Virginia All-Sports Legends Day" at the armory facility? How about the father-and-son baseball coaching combination of Roger and Kevin Gertz at Logan High School. That's right. They were also deservingly honored.
But, wait. It doesn't end there. The "parade of greats," as it was referred to in a brochure, also included the likes of two more brothers and one of the brothers' son - all products of Logan High School. Do the names of Alan and Mark Hatcher ring a bell with local sports followers?
How about Alan's son, Mark, named for his uncle Mark, a 1971 graduate, who just happens to be one of the best basketball players ever to wear a Wildcat uniform. The younger Mark, of course, also was a highly successful head coach at LHS, even winning a state championship.
Alan, a good starting forward in the late 1960s at Logan, coached the Williamson Wolfpack and made state champions of the 'Pack before moving on to a successful career coaching in Kentucky. Hatcher later returned to Logan County, coached Chapmanville High School and then ended his career at Logan High, where he had been an assistant basketball coach many years prior.
And the beat goes on. True basketball fans will remember the shooting exploits of one Ross Scaggs, who starred at Logan, played for Marshall and later began a lucrative career as head coach of Huntington St. Joseph. Well, he also was enshrined as a West Virginia Sports Legend the same day that everyone else received their honors.
Chapmanville fans should certainly recall the baseball and all-sports heroics of former Tiger Steve Pritchard, who not only was honored at West Virginia State, but also became a highly successful baseball mentor at Nitro High School.
Last, but not least, is Willie Coleman. Besides playing championship basketball at Logan, Coleman went on to Salem University where he was twice honored as player of the year in the WVIAC, which Mike Stone (Fairmont State) or Scott Ellis (Concord College) will tell you is a tremendous feat.
Speaking of Ellis, despite a personal invitation by Tex Williams, who visited him and others in Logan prior to the event, the former Logan High guard declined to be included in the ceremonies.
There were other names of local interest who also were honored as inductees into the "West Virginia Legends." Former Williamson High basketball great Mark Cine, who made his mark at Wake Forest and now is an assistant coach at Marshall, is one good example, as is Mingo County's legendary state championship coach, Yogi Kinder. Mike Smith, former coach at Burch High School, was also enshrined.
Actually, there were many more former athletes, coaches and sports-affiliated persons who joined the ranks of the previously mentioned folks who were honored at Tex Williams' annual get-together. However, the Godbys, Ellises, Hatchers, Stones and Gertzes dominated the field of "Father and Son Greats." All totaled, there were 79 years of former coaches and athletes who were honored.
At some point, I hope to reveal some interesting history, a great deal of which I did not realize, especially concerning former players and coaches, Ted Ellis and Jack Stone. For instance, I wonder how many people know that Stone, a running back for WVU, who also returned punts and kickoffs, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1954.
There are many particulars that I know few people realize concerning each of the local gentlemen who were honored at the July 6 function. One good example is the fact that Ted, and his two sons, Mark and Eric Ellis, each were three-sport lettermen during their playing days at Chapmanville High School. There simply are few people who can match that accomplishment.
In time, perhaps I can relay the achievements of all of the aforementioned people who were rightfully honored. However, there simply isn't enough room in this newspaper to properly do so today. But, at least now, readers can be aware of the many local talents that were recently honored, and rightfully so.
Still, I'm sure sports enthusiasts will be able to suggest many other former athletes, coaches or sports-affiliated people of the area who deserve honoring, particularly from the Triadelphia area.
William "Tootie" Carter, longtime coach at Man High School, would be one of many from that area who deserve recognition, not to mention others from Chapmanville and Logan. Names that immediately come to my mind are James "Alva" Davison, Bill Wooten, George Underwood (deceased), Jimmy Joe Willis Jr., John David Brammer and Chad Akers. And that's just the tip of the athletic iceberg.
Names of still living people who I believe to be deserving of honors also include former WVOW sports announcers Speedy Bevins and Bob Weisner. I wonder how many athletic events that duo broadcast in their heydays - from Little League to basketball championships.
How about the Bailey Brothers (Jim and Jack), who umpired or refereed everything from Little League to high school sports across the region for decades? Talk about dedication.
The bottom line is that there have been many tremendous athletes come from these hills and valleys. Some were high school, college or even professional athletes.
Others excelled more on the local level such as in bowling leagues, tennis matches or various softball leagues. All of them - at some point in history - showcased their talents at various times and in various places. Some of them may never be properly recognized, either.
As much as I can appreciate the annual event in Raleigh County that honors so many, I must ask the question, "Is there a certain reason why there are no females being honored in this annual athletic function?"
There sure have been a great deal of young ladies over the years on the local level and statewide who have displayed miraculous athletic abilities in many types of sports. Remember Mary Lou Retton, for instance?
I also have to beg another question. "Uh, is there some reason Randy Moss has not been named yet?"
Oh, well. Congratulations to those who have already been honored, as we look forward to future inductees. After all, it's an overall great happening and honorable event.
Dwight Williamson serves as magistrate in Logan County. He writes a weekly column for HD Media.