GOODY, Ky. – If there has been a Belfry athletic event over the past 34 years, Bennett West was there.
As of Friday night, West has kept the scorebooks for 2,178 Belfry High School games.
The retired educator started keeping the scorebook for the late Tommy Dean Runyon at a basketball game on November 30, 1978. The dates roll off West’s tongue like a human computer.
West has a great recollection for Pirate records, special games and statistical information most of us would forget the next day.
West, who resides at Sidney, Ky., loves sports. He remembers keeping the stats for a weekend softball league that was played at the old Bevins Grade School Field back in the summer of 1977. The great flood had kept the city of Williamson from having a league that year, so along with Paul May, West played for a team and help run the slow pitch softball league. He kept the league leaders in most all offensive categories.
The Pirate sports information director is an expert when it comes to keeping baseball, softball, basketball and now soccer scoring and statistics.
He has gone through five boys’ basketball coaches and a host of diamond coaches. When he isn’t keeping the basketball and baseball scorebooks for the boy’s teams, he keeps them for softball and girls’ basketball.
“I enjoy sports and mostly enjoy being with the kids,” West said during a break at a BHS softball game. “I’ve spent my entire adult life working with teenagers. I can’t imagine not doing it.”
West started his teaching career in Mingo County in 1974 to 1976 at the old Red Jacket Grade School. From there he went to Bevins Grade School in Pike County for seven more years. He spent the next 20 years teaching at his beloved Belfry High School.
West taught Accounting and General Business for his first 10 years at BHS, and then during his second 10 years, he switched to Geography and Economics. He also coached the Belfry Academic Team for nine years.
West said his favorite sport is baseball, however he enjoys working with basketball more because there “is much more action.”
He has keep up with the school’s records for his entire tenure. West has filing cabinets full of stats and old scorebooks. He hopes to hand them over to a competent replacement one day. “I hope the school will keep it going,” he said.
When you have attended as many games as West has, you are sure to have witnessed some outstanding games and watched some great athletes.
When asked for one of his fondest memories, in West-like form, he rattled off February 18, 1992, the Williamson Fieldhouse when the Wolfpack beat the Pirates 104-100 in triple overtime. Ironically, current Pirate baseball coach Michael Hagy was an all-state performer for Williamson at the time. Belfry’s star player was J. J. Hylton.
“That was one of the most exciting and interesting games I’ve witnessed,” West recalled.
West has seen many great players and been in most all of the area gyms. He has enjoyed watching players like Virgie’s Todd May, Williamson’s Mark Cline and Feds Creek’s Jody Thompson.
He was also thrilled to have kept the scorebooks at five state Sweet Sixteen tournaments; three for the boy’s and twice for the girl’s teams.
“I realize the time will come when I can’t do this any longer, but I don’t know when that will be,” West said. “I dread the time I’ll have to quit.”
“The coach at Allen Central asked me how much longer I will continue to do this,” West said. “I said as long as the good Lord lets me keep my health.”
Belfry’s players, coaches and fans hope that West will continue his iconic career as long as he can hold a pencil.