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Remembering Barber and other state sports greats

By Frank Giardina

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IT IS A lazy Sunday morning. Here are some names I am thinking about from my life in sports in our state.  

  • Mike Barber - In the I-AA and MAC football days, Marshall could have been known as "Wide Receiver U". Certainly, the best were Randy Moss and Troy Brown. But the most important might have been Barber, the former Winfield quarterback. He tends to be a forgotten player in Marshall football history. The 1987 team forever raised the bar for Marshall football, and Barber was the team's All-American and College Football Hall of Famer.
  • Darrell "Dee" Brown - He was a talented, multi-sport athlete at East Bank in the mid-1960s. Brown excelled in both basketball and baseball. He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in baseball and advanced as high as AAA. He actually played for the Charleston Charlies as a AAA shortstop in 1971.
  • Jeff Burkhamer - One of our state's most underrated college basketball coaches. "Burk" was a great player on the Williamstown team that lost to Earl Jones and Mount Hope in the 1978 state tournament semifinals. He played collegiately at Alderson-Broaddus for Dave Barksdale and is now head coach at Lander University in South Carolina. Most coaches who know him consider him one of the best bench coaches in the country.
  • Greg Edmonds - Sometimes we think that Curt Warner was the only player from Southern W.Va. who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State. There was another. Greg Edmonds was a wide receiver at George Washington in the early years of the school. He then started at receiver on Penn State's undefeated Orange Bowl teams of 1968 and 1969.
  • Bernie Galiffa - In WVU football history, Galiffa is one of the school's more underrated quarterbacks. He was only 5-foot-10, but had a rifle arm and threw for 2,496 yards and 17 touchdowns for Bobby Bowden on the 1972 Peach Bowl team.  
  • Jay Hamric - State championships don't come everyday in Roane County. But one came in the fall of 1991 as Spencer beat Greenbrier West to win the Class AA football title. Hamric was a quarterback who went on to play at William & Mary.
  • Bobbie Howard - He never sought the spotlight, but he was a coach and teacher's dream. Howard was an incredible athlete and football player. A multi-sport star at DuPont in the early 90s, Howard went on to be a four-year letterman and captain at Notre Dame. In an era of overbearing, publicity seeking sports parents, I am not sure our area has seen a more humble kid or family.
  • Bob Huggins - We all know him and tend to take him for granted as the WVU men's basketball coach who has compiled a Hall-of-Fame career. Sometimes we forget what a great player he was. When he played for the Mountaineers in the mid-70s, he was known throughout the East for his toughness and cerebral play.
  • Gene Radcliffe - One of many unsung heroes in coaching. You know the type. He was the long-time teacher who served as an assistant coach in every sport. Radcliffe was an assistant at the old Huntington High for Claude Miller in football and Jim Ward in basketball. Small in stature and big in heart, the students there lovingly called him "Boo Boo."
  • Ripley Vikings, Class of 1979 - There are some noteworthy names in the Ripley class of 1979. One of the best basketball coaches our state has produced, Randy Anderson, was a small, exciting point guard. He went on to play for Jess Lilly at Glenville and coached the Vikings to their only state tournament appearance in 1996. A long-time girls basketball coach and a former coach at W.Va. State, Steve Hunt was in that class. Also in that class were local television sports anchor Mark Martin and former Sissonville football coach, Henry "Boob" Lanham. That class also produced "Happy" Joe Parsons, long-time sales executive for the MetroNews Radio Network. Many forget "Hap" was an outstanding football player and started for three years at defensive end for Frank Vincent at Glenville.
  • Reach Frank Giardina at fl16@hotmail.com.


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