The two will be enshrined into the West Virginia High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame on Friday at 7 p.m. during a ceremony at the Power Alley Grill at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
Chapmanville Regional High School baseball coach Eric Ellis, a member of the West Virginia Baseball Coaches Association Board of Directors said both, of course, are very deserving of the honor.
“We thought that we would honor some assistant coaches this year and get them in there,” Ellis said. “Those guys deserve it, too.”
Willis has been a longtime assistant and pitching coach for the Logan High School Wildcats under head coach Roger Gertz and has been a part of Logan’s state championship teams of 1994, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008.
Willis, who played at Marshall University, was enshrined into the Logan High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Many of Logan’s pitchers under Willis have gone on to play at the collegiate or professional level, including J.D. Brammer, who made it as far as Triple-A ball in the Cleveland Indians organization.
Most recently, Lou Green, who pitched Logan to the 2005 Class AA state championship, saw professional action in the Los Angeles Angels organization.
Willis is the son of the late Jim Willis Sr., who was a former legendary head baseball coach at Logan High School. Willis’s son, Jared, was a former standout and all-state player for Logan High School earlier in the decade. Jared Willis went on to play four years of collegiate baseball at Division I Ohio University.
Godby had a stellar playing and coaching career and retired from coaching with Ted Ellis as a Chapmanville High School baseball assistant after the 2001 season in which the Tigers went 30-5 and made it to the state tournament.
Godby, who went on to play professional baseball in the minors and with the St. Louis Cardinals in the Major Leagues in 1974. He helped lead the Tigers to Class AA state baseball titles in 1987 and 1997.
Godby, also a longtime head basketball coach at Chapmanville High School, is currently the athletics director at Chapmanville Regional High School.
Gertz and Ted Ellis had been inducted to the West Virginia High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame earlier in the decade.
The following are biographical sketches of Willis and Godby.
JIM WILLIS, JR.
A 1971 graduate of Logan High School, Jim is the son of June Willis and the late Jim Willis.
Jim’s successful career began with playing baseball for the Wildcats. While a member of the baseball team all three years of high school, Jim was a pitcher. He held an impressive career high of 18 wins and one loss from 1969-71. In both the 1970 and 1971 seasons, Jim was named to the First-Team All-State Baseball Team.
After graduation, Jim pursued both a degree and a pitching career at Marshall University.
He maintained a record 15 wins and 6 losses from 1972-75. In both 1974 and 1975, he was voted Most Valuable Pitcher at MU.
His teammates voted him co-captain in 1975 and he received the award for Academic Baseball Player that year.
After graduation, Jim returned to Logan High School to teach and eventually coach.
He helped coach football from 1976-78. As the golf coach from 1980-99, his team had state tournament runs in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1995 and 1996 under his direction.
Jim has maintained a relationship for more than 20 years with the Logan High School baseball program as an assistant coach. He has seen success with this program by way of five state championship titles in 1994, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008.
Jim has had the pleasure of watching his son, Jared, play as a starting member of the LHS team from 2000-03. Jared Willis graduated from LHS in 2003 and signed a national letter of intent to play collegiate baseball at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Both father and son have seen success with the Wildcat program with the pleasure of winning back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2001.
Jim’s career with Logan High School includes playing, coaching and teaching. He has seen many successes on the field of play and in the classroom.
One of the most successful achievements has been a program initiated by Jim at LHS called the Eagle’s Nest. This program has promoted leadership skills in many area youth.
Jim has been married to Debbie Porter-Willis for more than 30 years.
Danny Godby was believed to be only the second person ever from Logan County to make it as far as the Major Leagues, with the other being Man native Max Butcher, who pitched in the National League with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1936-45, winning 95 games and losing 106.
At the end of the 1969 season Godby was added to the Reds’ 40-man roster.
It was the era of Cincy’s “Big Red Machine,” and Godby’s name was on the roster along side Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Lee May, Bobby Tolan and Dave Concepcion.
In 1970, he was sent back down to the minors and played for Class AA Asheville (N.C.).
Near the end of the season, Godby was sent to Class AAA Indianapolis.
Then in the winter of ‘71, Godby was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization and played in ‘72 and ‘73 for Class AAA Tulsa (Okla.) of the American Association.
In the spring of ‘73 with Tulsa, Godby received the Joe “Ducky” Medwick Award for the highest batting average.
He led the team in hitting with a .344 average and was later the MVP of the American Association’s All-Star team.
In 1974, he hit .345 with Tulsa and was called up to the St. Louis Cardinals’ team. At the time he was leading the American Association in hitting, doubles and runs scored.
On Aug. 13, 1974, he had his first Major League hit in his first time at bat off Bill Laxton of the San Diego Padres.
The Cardinals were in a race for the pennant and the game had gone into extra innings. Godby got his hit, stole second base and scored the winning run.
He then played with the Cardinals in the longest game in Major League history in St. Louis’ 25-inning, seven-hour marathon with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
With at St. Louis, Godby was teammates with Bob Gibson, Keith Hernandez, Lou Brock, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre and Claude Osteen.
He also played against Hank Aaron, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. He hit against Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard and Jim Bunning.
Godby has been the Logan County Commissioner since 1989, a Reds’ baseball scout and the former owner of Dan and Dave’s Sporting Goods in Logan from 1976-97.
He was the longtime head basketball coach at Chapmanville High School before stepping down early in the 2000s decade.
The West Virginia Baseball Coaches Association will be holding a baseball coaches clinic on Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park prior to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Registration is between 8-9 a.m. at the park.
All coaches are welcome to attend.
The cost is $75 each.