For many year’s the Logan High School basketball team’s King Coal Classic had been the mid-way point of the season.
It was a two-day celebration of basketball, bringing in many top area, regional and even out-of-state prep powerhouses.
There were some college games as well.
Early in his collegiate career at Farimont State University and before heading to Marshall, former Logan standout Stevie Browning and his FSU Fighting Falcons played a college game in Logan’s King Coal at Willie Akers Arena.
There were also in-state collegiate women’s basketball games.
Next year’s King Coal Classic, however, will take on a more local flavor and the usual late January showcase has been moved up a month next season to late December, essentially making it a holiday tourney.
Logan coach Zach Green said the changes should be a win-win situation for everyone.
“We have moved it to December 28-29,” Green said. “We wanted to move it up. There will be a lot of kids home from college that will be home visiting their families and it will make it a little bit easier for many of the fans. It’s been tough putting together a schedule as late as it is for next season. We decided to make it an all-day tournament.”
Logan is matched up with Wesley Christian, Kentucky and Man in next year’s King Coal.
Chapmanville, the Wildcats’ other county rival, will also be in the King Coal field.
“We’ve got a lot of local flavor to it too this year,” Green said. “On the 28th, we will play Wesley Christian, Kentucky. In the game before that, Man will play Van. Then on the 29th, Logan will play Man and Chapmanville will play George Washington. All three county teams will be in it next year which we are excited about. We kind of made an agreement with (Chapmanville coach) Brad (Napier) that we would go play in his tournament and he would come and play in ours and help each other out now that we don’t have to face each other in the sectionals. We are either in their (Country Road) Classic or the Bob Runyon tournament.”
With the KCC being more local, Green said he expects there to be an attendance boost.
Good teams will also be there.
Man, which went 18-6 last season, moves down to Class A ball and with the Hillbillies returning all of their players next year, expects to be in the running not only for the Single-A state tournament, but for the state championship as well.
Chapmanville was 22-2 last season before the COVID-19 crisis shut down the season. The Tigers were the two-time defending Class AA state champions and were ranked No. 1 in the state before it all ended.. The Tigers lose their top three players due to graduation heading into next season and will be fielding a young squad.
“This will give more people an opportunity to come out and see us and watch the King Coal,” Green said. “With it being more local with all of the county teams we should have some pretty good crowds.”
Green said the King Coal will look to have college games again in future years.
“We plan in the future to get back to some college games,” he said. “There’s some things that have to be done before we can do that but this is one thing that we’ve discussed and we really want to do moving forward. This year, with everything that has happened, that put a hamper on us as far as us traveling to different places like we have in the past and bringing out-of-state teams in. So we decided to go local with it and hold a good event for everyone over the break.”
Logan moves up to Class AAA ball next season as the WVSSAC moves to a four-class format.
The Wildcats’ schedule is nearly complete.
Other than the usual Cardinal Conference games against foes Chapmanville, Scott, Wayne, Nitro, Sissonville, Herbert Hoover, Poca and Winfield, there will be some other new opponents.
“It’s pretty much complete. I’ve got a couple of dates that need to change,” Green said. “In addition to the King Coal and instead of going to Beckley this year we are going to go play in George Washington’s Christmas Tournament. Then we have home-and-away with Lincoln County and with Shady Spring. They are a team that’s going to be a really good team in our division. We are also going to be going to South Charleston late in the season. We also have all of our Cardinal Conference games. We added some teams that we haven’t played in years so it should be interesting. With Lincoln County being in our section it was a game that we thought that we needed to schedule. We got together with Coach Plumley and he agreed.”
Green said Logan, with many of its young players coming back for next season, should have a successful 2020-21 season.
“We are looking forward to and are excited about the upcoming season,” he said. “We return 10 of our top 12 players and are entering into the new Class AAA with a new section and region.”
No. 5 Logan (15-8) was slated to travel to play at No. 6 Poca (21-3) in this year’s Class AA Region 4 co-final before the season was delayed then shut down.
The Wildcats were looking for their first state tournament berth in eight years.