Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 4, 2013

McDowell sports Hall of Fame to induct new members

By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — The third annual McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame induction will take place today at Mount View High School, with some new wrinkles in addition to a new venue.

With exceptional attendance the first two years, the induction ceremonies will move this year from the hospitable, but space-limited Raymond’s Restaurant in downtown Welch to the more spacious Mount View High School.

The induction ceremony will begin with dinner at 2 p.m., with the ceremonies to immediately following the meal. After the enshrinement, plaques honoring each inductee will be placed for public view, joining the others from the initial two classes, at the Sterling Drive Inn on Stewart Street.

Two new categories for induction this year will be an outstanding team from the past and one for support of athletics in the County.

The 1963 Welch Maroon Wave football team will be inducted in the former category, while WELC and the Sidote family will be enshrined for their work with the sports community.

That gridiron contingent at Welch compiled a perfect 10-0 record and finished the season tied with Charleston High School for second place in the final SSAC Class AAA ratings. The SSAC had decided if there was a tie for second, the top-ranked team would be declared state champion, without the benefit of a playoff game.

That’s exactly what happened and, thus, Buckhannon-Upshur, the number one rated Class AAA school was declared state champs.

That is the only time since the three class (AAA, AA and A) system came into existence in 1958 that a state football champion has been decided without a playoff game.

An inductee in a second new category is WELC Radio, owned until recently by the Sidote family of Sam, the late Mary and John.

WELC first started broadcasting Iaeger Cub football games on a delayed basis back in the early 1950s, with sponsorship by the Bank of Iaeger.

Tom Hicks served as the first broadcaster, with the late Johnny Villani succeeding Hicks and doing most of the play-by-play during his tenure at WELC. The tape-delay broadcasts gave way to live broadcasts in recent years, with “Boss Man” Sam Sidote, John J. Sidote, Jim Redmond, Troy Hawks, Jr., Ed Evans, John Pennington and Clarence Lester serving as announcers over those years.

• Leon “Babe” Allison, who just recently passed away, will be inducted into the McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame this year.

From Thomasville, N.C., “Babe” graduated from Gary District High School in 1940, where he was a star athlete for the Bulldogs.

Allison earned All-McDowell County honors in both football and basketball in his senior year, before serving in the U. S. Army during World War II. While in the Army, he earned recognition on several All-Army athletic teams and played basketball against the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.

His wife was the late Grace Allison, and children are Betty, Tracy and the late Leon “Sonny Buck” Allison.

• Donald Boyd was a 1953 graduate of Welch High School before attending the University of Louisville, where he played football.

Boyd and wife Beverley have three daughters, Alicia, Donna and Nancy.

He was a four year starter for the Maroon Wave in football, where he was the leading rusher and leader in all-purpose yards.  His senior season, he was the leading scorer in West Virginia.

Boyd was a three year starter in both basketball and baseball for Welch, garnering All-County honors in the former in 1952.

He was awarded a football scholarship to Louisville, where he started on both sides of the ball all four years.

• Harold “Sandy” Bright, a Welch High School alumnus, continued his education and playing career at Bluefield State College.

He started the wrestling program at Iaeger High School and had over 100 of his wrestlers over the years qualify for the state tournament.  In 1994 alone, he had eleven qualify for the state tourney. That same year, he had three wrestlers ranked in pre-state competition.

Bright was named McDowell County Coach of the Year in 1982 and Coalfield Conference Coach of the Year in 1994.

• Thomas W. Callaway was a 1966 Welch High grad and played football at the University of Tennessee, where he graduated in 1970.

Callaway was a sophomore starter at fullback on the 1963 undefeated Maroon Wave team, where he earned All-County honors, with repeat performances in 1964 and 1965.

Callaway was a member of the Southeastern Conference championship teams in 1967 and 1969, and a member of the 1968 Volunteer team that won the National Championship. He played in the Cotton, Orange and Gator Bowls.

Callaway served as head football coach at both Gary and Big Creek High Schools, as well as head gridiron coach at Rye Cove, VA, more recently.

• The late Eustace Frederick was born and grew up in Switchback, the son of Russian immigrants.

A star athlete at Elkhorn High School (Indians), as well as an exemplary student, he earned a football scholarship to Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), as it was known in the 1940s and 1950s.

He played fullback and middle linebacker in those days before the two platoon system and was captain of the Hokie grid team his senior year of 1951.

He was appointed to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1993 and served in that legislative body until his death on November 6, 2008.

• Jim Gregory graduated from Gary High School in 1967 and East Carolina University in 1971.

Gregory earned Class AA All-State basketball honors in both his junior and senior seasons, and was named to the Big All-State (all three classes combined) basketball team his senior year.

He was also an All-State honoree in football his senior season, helping lead the Coaldiggers to the 1966 Class AA state title.

Playing basketball for ECU, he holds the record of 11.3 rebounds per game average  over a three year period.

• Mark Page starred in basketball at Northfork High School, leading the Blue Demons to the 1974 Class AA state championship as a senior, averaging 19 points per game.

Page won three letters in basketball for the Blue Demons, where the record of the three teams he played on was 62-9.

At Bluefield State College he won four letters there and was named to the preseason All-American team by Street and Smith magazine.

Page was head girls’ basketball coach at both Big Creek and Northfork before becoming head boys’ coach at Northfork midway through the 1982-83 season. Page’s boys’ record for the Blue Demons was 41-16.

He concluded his coaching career as head boys’ coach at Mount View for ten years.

 Page is currently the principal at Montcalm High School, after having served as an assistant principal several years at Princeton High School.

• Thurman Peters graduated from Iaeger High School in 1950.

He averaged 19 points per game as a senior in basketball and was named to the All-McDowell County football team at tackle in both his junior and senior years.

Peters, who was a conductor for the N&W Railroad, started school at Concord, playing football, but had to leave school when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict.

While in the military, he played football on championship teams at Fort Bragg, NC, and in Japan.

• George E. Phillips, better known as Joe Ed, is a 1957 Welch Maroon Wave graduate.

Phillips started at halfback as a freshman for the Wave, later making All-County as a sophomore.

When he was a senior, he captained the Welch grid team and earned All-County and All-State honors.

A starter as a freshman for Concord, he led the Mountain Lions in scoring and rushing. As a sophomore, he received All-WVIAC second team honors, while leading the conference in rushing and was runner-up in scoring. His junior year, Phillips won first team All-WVIAC accolades, while being named Honorable Mention Little All-American running back in the NAIA.

• Richard “Dickie Lee” Roberts, along with his brother Don, who was inducted last year into the Hall of Fame, become the first brothers so enshrined.

Roberts was a freshman on the 1963 Welch undefeated football team and went on to star on the line for three seasons thereafter.

He was Class AAA All-State as a junior and a senior, and his final year, he was voted winner of the Hunt Award, emblematic of being recognized as the top high school lineman in West Virginia.

He won a scholarship to play football at West Virginia University, where he started at center 32 games over three years and played in the 1969 Peach Bowl.

• Fred Schrom has become synonymous with high school wrestling over the years.

A graduate of Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD, Schrom came to Big Creek High School via Concord College, where he graduated in 1961. He coached football, track, tennis and wrestling for 22 years at Big Creek.

In 1976, he guided the Owls to second place in the state wrestling tournament.

Schrom had 32 state place winners, including six state champions, five runners-up and three outstanding wrestlers.    

The Owls won the Regional championships in 1975 and 1976.  Of 145 place winners, he coached 40 champions and two runners-up.

Schrom was named wrestling Coach of the Year in 1975.

In 2008, he was inducted into the WV Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK.

Schrom and his wife, Gerrie, live in their adopted home town of War and are the parents of sons Matthew and David.

• Ron Tote, a 1967 Northfork High School graduate, earned three letters in football and three more in basketball, playing for the Blue Demons, as well as running track.

Tote started at both halfback and defensive back for Coach John Brant’s football team all three years at Northfork. One game his senior season, he rushed for 246 yards.

He was head coach for the Northfork Demonettes, who won three of the first four Class AA state girls’ basketball championships, in 1976, 1977 and 1979.  His career coaching record with the Demonette girls was 100-2, including a 79 game win streak.

The McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Welch Lions Club

For a more thorough biography of inductees, see bdtonline.com.