Curt Phillips played in the first-ever basketball held in the Williamson Fieldhouse back in 1951. The Wolfpack played the Wayne Pioneers.
Phillips knows the history of the grand old building. He has been working and researching some of the history for the Williamson Park Board.
The Williamson Fieldhouse was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The players that hit the hardwood in the local facility are like an NBA All-Star team. Throw in some top-notch college players and it is almost unbelievable to hear him rattle off the names of those who fired up shots at the local Fieldhouse.
Future NBA stars like Jerry West, Hal Greer, “Hot” Rod Hundley, Donnis Butcher and Rod Thorn. The first black player to be drafted and to play in the NBA was Earl Lloyd of West Virginia State. He played in an all-star game at the Fieldhouse.
In past years college players would barnstorm around to different locations to play exhibition games with local stars.
Phillips said a squad from Williamson recruited Marshall’s Hal Greer to play with them against one such traveling squad. He and Greer then exchanged jerseys after the game was over.
Other college stars that played in the historic old building were “King” Kelly Coleman, Walt Wollowac, Jim Davidson, Charlie Slack, Jim Workman, Bevo Francis and Leo Byrd.
Then you have the hundreds of great high school players that suited up there for the Wolfpack teams and those visiting schools that ventured into Williamson to take on WHS. Those are just too many to name them all.
The famed Harlem Globetrotters also glided and dribbled their hoops magic on the court at the West End basketball facility.
The names of those basketball players who came out of the dressing rooms at the Fieldhouse are fantastic. However, that doesn’t even include those great baseball and football players who played on the adjacent Lefty Hamilton Park field.
There were many great players who laced up their cleats to play on that grand old field as well. But, that’s another story, for anther time.
Phillips, a longtime fireman and retired chief for the city of Williamson, has now served on the Williamson Park Board for 30 years.
The 6-4 Phillips graduated from WHS back in 1953. He became a longtime booster and coach for the local midget league programs and was a WHS supporter for many years. He is also in the Wolfpack Hall of Fame.
Like many of us, he has many great memories of the Williamson Fieldhouse.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)