By Kyle Lovern
He is simply known as Wolfman.
If you see his burly beard and bushy hair it would be easy to figure out how Bob Adkins got this nickname in his younger years.
He started out coaching baseball in the Williamson Babe Ruth League back in 1976. Adkins had moved to nearby Chattaroy and wanted to help out with the local sports program.
“I coached the Kiwanis team,” Adkins recalls. “I had a bunch of Chattaroy kids – Bobby Teeters, Peanut Bowens, Tim Booth, Larry and Gary Jewell – and many others.”
A couple of years later Adkins began helping Frank Smith coach the Chattaroy Midget League basketball team. Eventually the local league had so many players that they broke the league down into “A” Teams and “B” teams, splitting up the older and younger kids so they could get more playing time.
Fast forward 41 years later and Wolfman is still coaching youth basketball. He now coaches in the Kermit Buddy League. And he is still winning championships.
“I love it,” Adkins said. “There is nothing better.”
“It makes you feel younger,” he added.
Now retired from the railroad, Adkins enjoys watching local high school basketball games. Over the years he has seen many of his former players go on to play at local high schools and some have even went on to play in college.
Through the years he also coached AAU teams and All-star teams. So he was able to coach even more youngsters over that time. There are too many of them to name them all.
Now 65 years old, Wolfman has coached two generations of families and is ready to coach a third generation.
Adkins has seen many of his players go on to become all-state athletes in different sports. He rattled off several names. Wolfman has had standout student-athletes to go on and play at Williamson, Burch, Matewan, Kermit, Lenore and Tolsia High Schools.
Wolfman’s travels have taken him all over the state of West Virginia with teams playing in all-star tournaments in places like Beckley, Huntington, Charleston and many little towns in between.
One thing Adkins is proud of is the compliments he got from many of the tournament directors and officials. “They always said we had the best kids,” he said proudly. “They said our players were respectful and showed good sportsmanship.”
His AAU coaching days even took him across the country. He recalls one trip to Seattle, Washington.
“I’ve coached for ¾ of my life,” Adkins said with a smile.
“I still love every minute of it,” Adkins concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)