The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

June 19, 2013

Special moments, players and coaches in state sports history


BECKLEY — 3) What's your favorite venue in West Virginia to watch a sporting event?

Cam: There's nothing like a fall Saturday at Mountaineer Field, and as a baseball fan I love covering games at Linda K. Epling Stadium. But my favorite is taking in the action of The Greenbrier Classic on The Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier. You can almost feel the history of the game as you stand along one of the fairways that Sam Snead called home, and the scenery of the Greenbrier Valley is unmatched anywhere on the PGA TOUR. When the sun begins to set behind the mountains, watching the game's best in our own backyard is an unforgettable moment.

Dan: A tie, between the WVU Coliseum and the original Baileysville High School gymnasium. Crowds weren’t always big in the 1970s in the Coliseum, but we made a LOT of noise. As for high school sports, you can’t go wrong with the Armory, the Civic Center or ANY Wyoming County high school gym. But the beloved BHS “Crackerbox” (not to be confused the RiderDome) was something else. Even if you were sitting in the back row, it was like you were on the court. The basketball, boys or girls, was intense and the fans were deafening.

Josh: If you weren’t in the former Raleigh County Armory during the Dave Barksdale era of Woodrow Wilson basketball, you were missing out.  I have many childhood memories of attending the games with former Woodrow assistant principal, the late Carlton Spicer and his son Chip. There’s nowhere else I would have rather been.

Rusty: This is easy for me, old Mountaineer Field was absolutely the best venue ever to me. The great view on the open end of the bowled stadium of the hills of West Virginia and the Monongahela River was a picture straight out of Southern Living magazine. The awesome acoustics that amplified the “Pride of West Virginia” marching band, where I would watch games with my family while we were in Morgantown, are priceless memories for me.

4) What four athletes/coaches should be on West Virginia's Mount Rushmore?

Cam: Jerry West is the NBA logo and a wonderful ambassador for the state. He is the face of athletics in West Virginia. Sam Huff is an NFL Hall of Famer and the son of a coal miner. He embodies the work ethic and determination that defines the Mountain State. Mary Lou Retton was the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic gold medal in the individual all-around competition. If she can make in on a Wheaties box, she certainly belongs on our Mount Rushmore. The fourth spot goes to Nick Saban. When all is said and done, the Marion County native will be known as one of the greatest coaches in the game's history.

Dan: The Mount Rushmore: Jennings Boyd (Northfork basketball), Dave Barksdale (Woodrow basketball), Don Nuckols (Mullens basketball) and Wayne Ryan (Summers County girls basketball): Basketball championship after championship for each.

Josh: You can’t put together a Mount Rushmore of the Mountain State without “The Logo” himself, Jerry West. He really needs no further explanation.  Hal Greer was the first ever African-American to have an athletic career at either WVU or Marshall.  Greer was a 2nd round draft pick out of Marshall to the Syracuse Nationals (who later became the Philadelphia 76ers), where he became a 10-time all-star and an NBA champion. He finished his career with 21,586 points and had his number 15 retired by the Sixers. Randy Moss will go down as one of the top 3 wide receivers in NFL history. He’s a 7-time Pro Bowler, 5-time All-Pro and holds the NFL record for most touchdowns in a single season (23) and as a rookie (17). Finally, my final spot is reserved for “The Grey Eagle” Jerome Van Meter. Van Meter is one of, if not the single most successful high school coaches in the country. Van Meter coached Woodrow Wilson to three state championships in football and six in basketball during his 30-year coaching career.

Rusty: Jerry West, the NBA logo has to be there. Nick Saban, clearly one of the greatest college coaches from a small West Virginia mining town, Monongah. Pat White, because he has been matched by no others in bowl wins and his great line, “once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer". And my final choice is clearly personal, Owen Schmitt. He embodies West Virginia. A hard working under appreciated athlete that worked hard and became a Mountaineer legend. The runaway beer truck will always be one of my favorites.

5) Who's the best athlete from outside the state to play at a West Virginia college?

Cam: Pat White may never have a professional career of any real merit, but he is one of the best college quarterbacks to ever play the game. His record speaks for itself. He won four bowl games as the WVU signal caller, two of them BCS bowls. He's college football's all-time leading rusher as a quarterback — I'm not going to acknowledge Denard Robinson, who played most of his senior year as a running back and wide receiver — and he's one of only nine players to rush for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards in the same game. His 34-8 record as a starter is simply incredible.

Dan: Pat White.

Josh: I agree with Cam. It has to be Pat White. White was one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football history and helped re-establish the Mountaineers as a national power.

Rusty: Pat White, Pat White, Pat White, Pat White. The only quarterback to lead his team to four bowl game victories and the most exciting, clutch player to put on a Mountaineer football jersey, with slight apologies to Major Harris. My mom would totally agree with my choice.


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