By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Last evening turned into a gala affair, as the basketball court at Mount View High School was named in honor of the Golden Knights’ first basketball coach, Ergie R. Smith, Jr.
The official ceremony was held on the Ergie Smith court prior to the Knights’ season opener against Greater Beckley Christian Academy.
McDowell County Board of Education President Michael Callaway presented a framed picture of Smith, when he served as a member of the local BOE, that will hang on the wall outside the gymnasium.
The floor in the gym was recently painted and refinished, with the new name “Ergie Smith court” prominently displayed on both ends. The painted name is actually a reproduction of Smith’s signature.
Prior to the dedication ceremony, a reception was held in the Bob Jack Auditorium, with eleven speakers talking about the positive influence Ergie Smith has been in their lives.
Butch Powell and Pat Fragile, representing the WVSSAC and both personal friends of Smith, spoke of him.
Powell, the Assistant Executive Director of the SSAC, said, “Tonight isn’t about one game. It’s not about one thing. It’s about all those Ergie Smith has influenced.”
Former players Tim Floyd, Harvey Silas, Clinton Giles and Leon Gravely all spoke, turning what had been billed as a “roast” into story after story, lauding Smith’s influence in their lives.
Floyd played at Gary District, while Silas played at both Gary District and Gary High School. Giles, the principal at Capital High School in Charleston, played at Gary, while Gravely played for Smith at Mount View.
Gary Brown, the current Golden Knight head basketball coach, organized the dedication and reception, and both played at Gary for Smith and later coached with him at Mount View.
Longtime educator E. Ray Williams, who coached against Smith, spoke of their long friendship.
Tom Callaway and Cathy Jack, who taught with Smith related anecdotes of their experiences with Smith.
Stated Silas, who officiated games for Mount View after he returned to live in Charleston said, “I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed. But I’ve never known anyone who has influenced me like Coach Smith.”
Spoke Giles, “I don’t say someone is a role model. He (Smith) is a real model and he continues to be a real model.”
Speaking to the crowd present for the Mount View-Greater Beckley Christian game, following the official dedication of the court, Smith said, “Today, I stand here with a deep sense of pride, but I also stand here with a greater sense of humility because I realize that even though this court is named after me, no one is an island within themselves and that it was the effort, the support and the encouragement of many that allow me to stand here today.”
He continued, “It is my hope that the naming of this court is more than a personal tribute to me and that it will embody the spirit and reflect the contributions of all those that made this possible. I also hope that it will serve as an inspiration for all Mount View High School athletes that will display their talents on this court.”
“Let me conclude with a sincere and heart-felt ‘thank you’ to all of the people that played such an instrumental part in the success I have enjoyed. I will never be able to repay you and I definitely will not ever forget you. I am eternally grateful to you, “ Smith concluded.