Eighth Annual "Hall of Fame Day" Banquet
October 31, 2010
Embassy Suites, Charleston WV
A crowd of about 150 wrestling friends, family, and well-wishers were on hand at Embassy Suites in Charleston as the West Virginia Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted its 2010 honorees.
As usual, Coach Bill Archer of Huntington served as the Master of Ceremonies. Coach Archer is a natural for the emcee job and takes to it as readily as, for instance, a non-Catholic would take to the job of being a principal at a Catholic High School (which, it turns out, as he explained, he is).
Horace Blankenship , perhaps best known by fans in the state for his long time association with the Berkeley Springs program, related that he was "humbled to join such a distinguished fraternity." Coach Blankenship credited his wife Barbara, and parents and loved ones as being an intergral part of a successful program. Blankenship recalled that in 1963 as a 95 lb high school sophomore, the wrestling coach at his school invited him to join the team - an event which ultimately had a profound influence in his life. Coach Blankenship concluded his remarks advising the audience that "to set and achieve goals - give wrestling a try."
Sidney Boggs of Spencer was honored posthumously for his Lifetime Service to Wrestling. Sidney was a photographer for the Spencer Times Record, and also did free-lance work for other newspapers. Former Spencer and Roane County coach and WV HOF member Garry Bender accepted the award on behalf of Sid. Bender noted that it was the quality of Sidney's heart that endeared him to over four decades of students, athletes, and citizens in the environs of Spencer.
Buzz Evans of Wheeling recounted a few of the events in his life which led him along his path, honoring his father who installed discipline and his mother's example of dedication (never having missed a day of work in 24 years as a nurse). Then there was the occasion of, in his first week on his scholastic wrestling team, scoring a take down in practice on the varsity wrestler and promptly getting punched in the face for doing so ("This is going to be a good sport after all...."), then something about an event during his collegiate football days, being surrounded at the 50 yard line by an angry mob with knives and a gun, and Coach Vince Monseau intervening to save the day, and something about breaking a board over Bill Welker's head in shop class....??? I'm not sure I have all the details on these events, which is why you MUST buy a ticket and attend the ceremony. Coach Evans concluded his remarks with a quote from Plato: "He who is only an athlete is too crude, too vulgar, too much a savage. He who is a scholar only is too soft. The ideal citizen is the scholar athlete, the man of thought and the man of action."
Larry Shaw of Oak Glen certainly needs no introduction to anyone who has been around West Virginia wrestling in the past 20 years. Coach Shaw recounted his career in wrestling beginning as a wrestler for Dix Manning at Shady Spring, his first coaching job at Clear Fork High School in Raleigh County, and his migration from southern West Virginia to the very north of West Virginia and his 31 years of coaching at Oak Glen. Shaw did note that there was some culture shock to adjust to, going from the land of pinto beans and corn bread to the land of rigatoni and pasta, and finding himself surrounded by the northern panhandle powers of Wheeling, Brooke, Weir, John Marshall, and others. Coach Shaw noted that from junior high he knew he wanted to be a coach, and planned his life accordingly. He credited the Oak Glen parents and Hancock County School administration for much of the success his teams enjoyed. He concluded with a quote from former UCLA basketball coach John Wooten: "It's what you learn after you know everything that matters."
On hand to accept the award for the late Bill Kerr was Coach Kerr's son Jack Kerr. Jack noted that his wrestling career began with his father as coach, and concluded after his father had moved on to a coaching position Fairmont State. After each of his matches, Coach Kerr would ask his son "How did you do last night?" On the first such occasion, reporting he had won his match, he learned that was not the answer to the question being asked. The real question was "How did you perform in relation to your abilities?" A valuable lesson from a father, and a coach.
Former Shady Spring coach Larry Snuffer is known to coaches and friends as a long time assistant to Shady Spring Coach Dix Manning, and later a successful head coach in his own right. Snuffer freely confessed that when he took the assistant job at Shady he had never wrestled a match. Thinking his job would not entail too much difficulty, his hopes were dashed when Coach Manning presented him with an entire box of videotapes, technique books, and manuals which he was to study. Coach Snuffer noted that he is fortunate, in that it is not often that a person who has not been an athlete can be a part of an athletic family.
2010 Hall of Fame inductees:
Seated, L to R: Horace Blankenship, Larry Shaw
Standing, L to R: The late Bill Kerr's grandson, Larry Snuffer, and Buzz Evans
This year's inductees with previous Hall of Fame inductees in attendance
The posse from the eastern panhandle on hand to honor Coach Blankenship. L to R: Hedgesville's assistant coach Dennis Burlingame and head coach Bill Whittington; Berkeley Springs head coach Darrell Bennett, and Coach Blankenship.
Those on hand with Coach Snuffer included current Shady Spring head coach and former Shady wrestler Jeff Lester, Coach Snuffer's better half Mrs Connie Snuffer, former Shady coach Danny Carter, and former Shady wrestler Darrell Shrewsbry.
On hand was Terry Kendall, two time state champ from Spencer and former coach; Marge Hamrick and husband Jim Hamrick, former coach at Walton, Spencer, and former Parkersburg AD; former Ravenswood coach and HOF member Dale Hinkle, and former Spencer wrestler and current Hurricane Middle coach Lee Cummings.
Coach Buzz Evans from Wheeling park with friends and family out in full force. Left to right: Sophie Evans, mother of the coach; brother Bruce Evans, daughter Erica, the Coach, wife Kim, former assistant and later head coach at Wheeling Park Gene Montleone, and former Wheeling Park wrestler and current Triadelphia Middle coach Rick Welker.
... and not to be outdone, Coach Larry Shaw with his wife and coaches/wrestlers: L to R: Bill Wills, Brian Six, Mrs Cindy Shaw, Grex Six, the Coach, Tim Ralph, current Oak Glen head coach Frank Crain, Rick Brown, and Mark Wiersbicki.
West Virginia State Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame
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