The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


June 25, 2009

Former area coaches to be inducted into hall of fame

Two former Raleigh County high school football coaches will be inducted Saturday into the National Single Wing Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Clear Fork High School’s Don Gibson and Shady Spring’s Marv “The Bear” Wetzel will be honored at the 14th annual National Single Wing Symposium in Edwardsville, Ill.

Gibson, from Helen, became head football coach at New Mexico Highlands University in 1953. He recruited numerous southern West Virginia players during his stint at the school.

His first season, he brought in Shady Spring’s Perry Harper along with two players from Stoco High School, two from Stratton, two from Clear Fork and one from Marsh Fork.

“A lot of us wouldn’t have gotten an education if he hadn’t recruited us,” said Harper, a retired educator now living in Corrales, N.M. “He coached hundreds of kids form West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.”

Former Independence High School coach and principal Wayne Peters went west to play for Gibson, as did former Stoco and Independence coach Tony Castanon.

Lineman Stanley Hayes and fullback Jim Locke, both from Mullens, and Clear Fork halfback Fred Stover also made their way out to Las Vegas, N.M., to play at New Mexico Highlands.

Before Gibson’s arrival, the Cowboys had won one game the past two years. They were 0-8 his first season, but went 5-2-1, 6-3 and 5-2-1 the next three.

“Coach ran the single-wing, the same as (legendary coach) Cam Henderson at Marshall,” said Harper, who started four years at center for Gibson and earned All-Frontier Conference honors. “He said we’d be in shape and know the plays and we were. We played at an elevation of 7,000 feet.”

The Cowboys were known for their discipline on and off the field.

“He was a no-nonsense guy,” Harper said. “Several letters came in to (school president) Dr. Donnelly because of the way we behaved and dressed.”

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