Losing local and national sports figures


Kyle’s Korner …

These past couple of days were a somber time on the local and national sports scene.

Two men who were well-known in the Williamson sports world, Bill Curry of Chattaroy and Peirce Whitt of Williamson (by way of Matewan) both passed away.

Curry was a huge basketball fan and loved the Williamson Wolfpack. I can still see and hear Bill sitting upstairs on those wooden bleachers in the historic Williamson Fieldhouse yelling at the referees. Bill loved attending local high school hoops events before he became ill and before consolidation gobbled up the old local teams.

I recall one time back in the 1980s before a Williamson – Logan basketball game when Curry, trying to get the Wolfpack team fired up, pledged to by the entire team a steak dinner if they defeated the Wildcats.

For years, Bill drove a school bus and many times traveled with the Wolfpack, taking them to away games. At one game at Princeton, I affectionately remember he was tossed from the gym after getting under the skin of a man wearing the striped shirt and blowing the whistle. Bill had to go outside and wait on the bus for the game to end.

… Whitt was the head of the Williamson Park Board since 1978. He saw many Wolfpack games at the Fieldhouse and on the road.

Whitt, along with his brother the late Mike Whitt, and Mark, were on the same football officiating crew during one span in their careers. Pierce was a longtime football referee and an avid sports lover.

They both will be missed.

… Frank Gifford, the who was on the first-ever crew for Monday night football, also passed away over the weekend. Gifford was part of a 3-man team in the booth of the early days of those first-ever non-Sunday NFL football games.

He, along with Howard Cosell and “Dandy”Don Meredith, were a hit in those early days of Monday night professional games.

Gifford was a former all-pro running back for the New York Giants, before becoming an Emmy winning sports broadcaster. During his career, Gifford was the NFL’s MVP in 1956, and helped the Giants win a championship.

Buddy Baker, who won the 1980 Daytona 500, was one of the early Nascar stars. He also passed away this past weekend.

Baker drove for more than 30 years and was honored as one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He was the first driver to exceed 200 mph on a closed course.

SHORT STUFF:

West Virginia University received another verbal commitment for 2016. Jake Long, a 6-foot-0, 185 pound cornerback from Hamilton Township in Ohio said he will be a Mountaineer.

Just a couple of months ago, Long had committed to Purdue, but changed his mind and now says WVU is the place he wants to play at the next level.

… Just last week WVU received a commitment from speedy wide receiver Steven Smothers our of Maryland. The Mountaineer coaching continues to recruit some top-notch players.

(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

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(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

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