By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Mike Fowlkes is well recognized for his efforts in helping develop young basketball talent, many of them players who admire current members of the Woodrow Wilson basketball team.
There was a time, of course, that Fowlkes was in their shoes, going to the Raleigh County Armory — now the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center — to watch his idols in action or listening to the games on his radio.
“I remember how it was as a kid, looking up to them,” said Fowlkes, a 1995 Woodrow Wilson graduate. “It was Beckley Basketball. I just think the kids (today) don’t understand it, and the community has kind of lost touch with it, too.”
So what better way to foster and reinvigorate that respect than by honoring the guys who played a huge part in the overall tradition of Flying Eagle hoops?
The second annual Woodrow Wilson basketball alumni cookout will be held Saturday, May 31, at New River Park on Ewart Avenue. The event will run from 1-5 p.m. at shelter No. 1. The cookout is free and there will be discounted pool admission.
This year’s event will honor the 1990 team that won the 10th of Woodrow’s 16 state championships. That team, coached by the legendary Dave Barksdale, started a decade of dominance.
The 1990 championship was the first of three in a four-season period. The Eagles lost to Logan in the 1991 title game before winning back-to-back championships in ’92 and ’93.
Woodrow then repeated again in 1997 and 1998.
Members of the 1990 team were: Tink Brown, Kevin English, Chris Daniels, Glen Staples, Brian Kidd, Vic Davis, Duane Reid, Judd Rutledge, Daniel Overdorf, Brian Nabors, Shawn Anderson and Ted Anderson.
Last year’s inaugural event honored Tamar Slay, the 1998 state player of the year who started at Marshall University before joining Henry Dickerson as the only two Beckley natives to play in the NBA. He played for the New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Bobcats before embarking on an overseas career that currently has him playing in Italy.
Slay has been chosen for induction into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame, but has not yet been able to attend a ceremony.
Fowlkes said the cookout is open to anyone, not just basketball players.
“It’s just something I want to try to do every year,” he said. “Hopefully it works out. Last year was a good turnout. We’re expecting more — if you cheered, played basketball, it doesn’t matter. If you were a fan, come on out.”
For questions or for more information, call Fowlkes at 304-237-2603.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber.