Sometimes, I like to pilfer through a slew of notes, pictures, books, magazines and things that I’ve piled up either at my home or in my office, some of which I have set aside, and, frankly, just forgot about. Therefore, allow me to partially clear off my desks by passing along to readers a few things that you might find of interest.
First, I must lament the death of former Logan High School coach Jack Stone, a man whose talents have never fully been disclosed. As seems to be the case too many times, a person’s life is often personified only after that person has died.
I hope to in the future fully present just what a truly outstanding athlete Jack Stone was. Setting records at WVU, serving in the Korean War, 29 years of coaching at Logan High School — alongside legendary head basketball coach Willie Akers — being recruited by another legend, who became head coach at Alabama (Bear Bryant), and being drafted by both the NFL and Major League baseball. Those are just a few highlights connected to a fellow who died recently at the age of 88.
For now, though, let me tell you the story of how Coach Jack Stone and I narrowly escaped destroying what turned out to be a perfect regular season for the 1971 Logan High School basketball team, one of the best talented squads ever to wear the gold and blue for the Wildcats. I don’t believe I’ve ever even related this story to my friend and former Logan High cage star Mike Stone, one of Jack’s two sons, and a guy who played left field for me on a softball team I played for and managed.
Coach Stone was my physical education instructor at Logan High when I was a senior there in 1971. Now, whether you agree or not, really doesn’t matter to me, but I feel like when it comes to physical education, Coach Stone’s plan served its purpose far better than, say, doing flips, climbing a rope, or jumping on a trampoline, like some phys-ed teachers insisted upon.
What the guys in our class looked forward to daily was going to the locker rooms of Logan Memorial Fieldhouse, changing into our gym shorts, and waiting on Stone to roll out the basketballs. We formed teams and played basketball the entire period. If indeed the idea behind physical education class was to get students to exercise, then rest assured, we were straight A examples.
Anyway, true local sports fans know that the 1971 Logan High School basketball team is the only undefeated regular season squad (21-0) coached by Akers, eventually losing to another undefeated squad, Charles Town, 81-78, in the Class AAA state tournament held in what was then Morgantown’s brand new WVU Coliseum before a crowd of well over 8,000 fans.
I was there to witness the loss, which was likely the result of star Mark Hatcher receiving a third personal foul in the first quarter of action, and the outstanding play of 6-6 Bill Lindsey of Charles Town. Hatcher, a three-year starter and All-State player his junior and senior years, as well as honorable mention his sophomore season, was a key to a senior-laden team that also consisted of Virdell Banks, Alfred Vance, Brent George, Arthur Blackmon and James Green. Reserve senior players included Fred Duncan and John Collins.
It was Blackmon, who had not played the forward position all season, who performed admirably with nine points while replacing Hatcher and helping center James Green with the talented big man, Lindsey. Jim Green finished the game with 16 points, followed by Brent George with 16, Virdell Banks’ 12 points and Vance’s 12. Hatcher managed 13 points, despite missing much of the contest.
Here’s the X-factor that even Willie Akers doesn’t know about. I believe Akers would agree that without James Green — the tallest player for the ‘Cats at around 6-4, — Logan may not have even made it to the 1971 state tournament. Thank goodness that Jim, a smart guy who worked hard at his position, didn’t break his back during phys-ed class.
For you see, a scrawny 17-year-old kid who managed to steal the basketball from Green during a pickup game in phys-ed class was headed for an easy layup when he realized the much bigger Green was barreling down on him and likely was going to revengefully block his shot.
Looking back on things, I realize I probably should not have faked the shot, causing Jim to go over my back and land hard on the concrete floor in the hallway. Green’s painful yell got the attention of Coach Stone, who was relaxing in the nearby smoke-filled coaches’ office. I also realize that my classmate could have knocked me 10 yards, if he weren’t such a nice fellow.
When Stone was apprised of what had just taken place, I was scolded, and Green, as I recollect, was not allowed to play anymore phys-ed basketball games.
Just for the record, I made the layup.
BITS and PIECES
For many of us who can relate to “Citizens arrest, citizen’s arrest,” an exclamation made by Gomer Pyle on the nostalgic Andy Griffith television show that I still love to watch, allow me to tell you that there are circumstances in which a private citizen is authorized to lawfully make a citizen’s arrest. One need only look at a 1999 case: State ex rel. West Virginia vs. Gustke.
If you’re not up on your Latin, allow me to explain that “State ex rel,” among other legal things, applies to a private person instigating an arrest in order to get the state to enforce the rights of himself/herself and the public.
I remember sometime back in the late 1970’s or early ‘80’s when a man and woman from Whitman Creek in Logan County arrested an individual who, as I recall, was caught trying to steal from the couple’s home.
The dynamic duo hog-tied the guy with rope and brought him to the Logan County jail for authorities to deal with it. At the time, the jail was located on the fourth floor of the courthouse. For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly what happened with that case.
Before taking law enforcement into your own hands, however, I would advise that one recognize the difference between a “citizen’s arrest” and a “false arrest.”
Here’s something else the common public might be interested in. If you know of a crime, no matter who committed it, you have the individual right to address a grand jury to seek indictment of that person, especially if the alleged crime is of a felony nature.
You might want to speak to the prosecuting attorney’s office before going forward with that endeavor.
n Recently, I heard from my buddy, Mel Cottone. Mel, now a resident of Boca Raton, Fla., telephoned to say that he got a kick out of a story I recently wrote about a fellow named Stiney Evans, who was a colorful character when I was growing up on Mud Fork.
Mel said he called his sister, Katherine Adkins, also of Mud Fork, to make sure she would relate the story to her husband, Benny, who knew Stiney quite well. By the way, Jack Baisden Sr., rightfully corrected me in giving Stiney’s real name as Ronald Gene Evans, not Harold as I reported. There were two Harold Evans on Mud Fork, including my late cousin.
Mel, who lived right behind the Park ‘n Eat restaurant at Mt. Gay as an immigrant’s son, made his mark in the national political arena back in 1960 during the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign in Logan County. He is one colorful and brilliant character, who has chaired the presidential campaigns of the likes of Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Edward Muskie, Sargent Shriver, and Jimmy Carter, to name a few, and currently is in the process of writing a book which I believe he said will be titled, “My Life With Presidents.”
One thing Mel related during our phone conversation that makes me ponder just how bad this economic coronavirus situation might become is that he would not be surprised if the government didn’t wind up taking over the airline business.
n Did you know that during my lifetime there has been one Logan County Court member and one president of the Logan Board of Education who could neither read nor write? Accordingly, it is so darned important who voters choose to lead them, especially in times of crisis.
n QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” — John F. Kennedy
CLOSING NOTE: Here’s an update for you on Logan County’s political scene. According to the County Clerk’s office, there are now 15,048 registered Democrats; 4,462 Republicans; 3,002 no-party (non-partisan) registrations; 2,481 independent registrations; 55 Libertarians, and 19 Mountain Party registered voters. When it comes to the non-party and Independent registered voters, those persons will have to select which ballot they choose to vote — either Republican or Democrat — in the primary election. According to county clerk employee Sharon Robinette, there are many voters who telephone the office because they don’t even know which way they are registered. All of this makes for an interesting election.