January 9, 2013
Kyle’s Korner ..
If he would write a book he could fill it with hundreds of interesting stories from his 38 years as a basketball official.
Danny Browning of Gilbert hung up his striped shirt and whistle three years ago and retired as a basketball referee.
The sports enthusiast also ran up and down the football field as a football official for 32 years.
“I never dreamed I would do it for that long,” Browning told me after stopping by the Williamson Daily News office.
“I had some great times and some crazy times,” Browning said.
There is an old adage that you need thick skin to be an official and Browning agrees that is certainly true.
He was on a football officiating crew for several years that included the late John Preece of Kermit and Grant Preece the current Mingo County Clerk.
John Preece was also a longtime basketball official and former basketball coach at Kermit High School.
“John was really something and he always kept us laughing,” Browning said.
The crew was officiating the Kiwanis Senior Bowl game back in 1981 when a bat flew down under the lights and landed on a lineman’s helmet.
Preece saw it and went over trying to smack the bat off of the helmet.
The player had no idea what the referee was doing. He finally picked up the football and killed the bat by smashing the bat with the pigskin on the side of the player’s helmet.
That is just one of the many stories and memories Browning can tell.
Browning’s son Rob was a standout basketball here in Mingo County back in the 1980s. He is now a high school coach in North Carolina.
His wife Martha was a long time educator in the county and is still a substitute teacher.
Browning still helps with the Twin Rivers Senior All-star game held every spring at the Harless Center in Gilbert.
Dan Browning has logged hundreds of miles in southern West Virginia going from gym to gym and to football fields on Friday nights.
His whistle on the court and the field will be missed.
There are only four college football coaches in history with four or more national championships and two of the are from West Virginia. Nick Saban, who just coached Alabama to another BCS title, and John McKay who coached at USC and both were born and raised in the Mountain State. That is pretty cool when you think about it.
Saban was born in Fairmont, while McKay was born in the now-defunct town of Everettville in Monongalia County. Saban played an old Monongah High School, while McKay played at the old Shinnstown High School.
… Former Belfry High School principal and Pike County Superintendent of Schools Frank Welch passed away this week. Welch was a class act and was a strong supporter of high school sports, especially the Belfry Pirates.
… Marshall freshman guard Kelvin Amayo plans to transfer to another school.
Marshall announced Amayo’s decision Monday night in a news release.
Amayo says he wants to be closer to home. The Newark, N.J., resident and Marshall didn’t identify the school.
He played in three games after becoming eligible in December, averaging 2.7 points per game.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)