The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

August 5, 2010

Elite program ended by closing of MSU Academy

Four months ago, Mountain State Academy broke new ground when it upset nationally ranked and storied Oak Hill Academy in a national tournament just outside the nation’s capital.

Today, the Academy no longer exists.

When it was announced Wednesday that the school would not reopen for the new school year, it officially ended the run of a program that went from small school Class A status to national elite.

And if it was predetermined before Tuesday, it certainly caught those inside the program as a surprise.

Several sources, including assistant coach Mike Fowlkes, said the school had interviewed for a vacant head coaching job as late as Monday.

Rodney Crawford, who coached the team last year, took an assistant coaching position at Duquesne.

Fowlkes said he believed one of the interviewees was Darnell Williams, who played at Xavier.

“I even met the guy,” Fowlkes said. “(The decision to close) had to come pretty quickly. We had discussed the position. I knew I wasn’t going to be the head coach, it wasn’t in my plans (Fowlkes does not work for the school). So, yeah, the fact that we closed came as a bit of a shock to everyone.”

Apparently, not many from the basketball team were caught in the cross-hairs of the closure.

Only two players remained from the 2010 team — 7-foot center Obig Ageet of Africa and Ahmad Ibrahim, from Israel — and both are close to finding new schools, Fowlkes said.

“They’re good,” the long-time backer of basketball in Beckley said. “I think they’d decided not to return when coach Crawford announced he was leaving. They’ve got places to go, so it’s going to turn out OK for them.

“It’s not like some of the kids who had gone to school here. Now they have three weeks to find a new school. That would be tough.”

Fowlkes, who has coached at several levels in Beckley, said the toughest thing was reaching the goal of reaching national status only to see it close down, although the rumor had been out there for the last two years.

“It’s disappointing because we worked so hard to get to national elite status,” Fowlkes said. “Even with (Crawford) leaving we were working hard to get kids to stay. And (Tuesday), it was over.”

Fowlkes, a new father, said he hopes to coach again.

“A few things have come about,” he said. “Nothing concrete. I love basketball. And last year was fun and a good experience for me and I appreciate the chance to be involved. I think, for me, coaching at the middle school level is something I love and something I enjoy.”

Athletic Director Todd Cornett could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 Legion.jpg Post 32 rips Parkersburg 19-3 in American Legion tournament

    The double play in baseball is said to be a pitcher’s best friend. If that is the case, an 11-run inning by the offense is a very close second.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 Gaddis.jpg Former Mountaineer standout Gaddis making career in MLS

    Philadelphia Union defender Ray Gaddis may consider Indianapolis his hometown, but make no mistake about it, the Mountain State will always have a place in his heart.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte

    The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.

    July 22, 2014

  • Beamer sees turnaround for Hokies

    Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer painted a rosy picture of the Hokies’ prospects during Monday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff press conference in Greensboro, N.C.

    July 22, 2014

Saints Training Camp