By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
“You have given us a great reason to celebrate.”
Those were the opening remarks of Bluefield Mayor Linda Whalen at a celebration for the Bluefield Beavers state champion basketball team Tuesday afternoon at the Herb Sims Youth Center on Stadium Drive.
Students, parents, alumni and community supporters turned out on a snowy spring day to meet and express their appreciation to the first state basketball championship team at Bluefield High School since 1996.
Bluefield City Board members Pete Sternloff, Mary Frances Brammer, Deb Sarver and Whalen were on hand to proclaim March 26, 2013, as “Bluefield Beavers Basketball Day” in a city board resolution read by Whalen.
In her comment to the Beavers and the approximately 50 supporters in attendance, Whalen said, “We are so proud of your accomplishments and the great pride you have brought to our city.”
The board members then presented members of the basketball team, coaches, cheerleaders, support staff, school administration with certificates of recognition from West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.
Anthony Eades, Lykel Collier and D.J. Edwards were given recognition for their being named to the All-Tournament team.
The final presentation was made by Daily Telegraph Publisher Darryl Hudson who gave head coach Buster Large the framed press plate from page A-1 of the Sunday, March 17 edition in which the championship game was the featured story.
Following the presentations, Whalen said, “It brings great pride to the city of Bluefield. It’s a wonderful accomplishment and it’s an accomplishment that’s the result of a lot of team effort and more than that, I think these fellows are a wonderful example of great sportsmanship on the court, recognizing each other’s talents and just showing a lot of friendship and camaraderie on the court.
“I think they are a wonderful example for our future basketball players and certainly any of our athletes. We just couldn’t be prouder.”
Large, who just completed his fifth season as head coach of the Beavers, has guided the team to the state championship game two years in a row. He voiced his appreciation to the community for their support.
“We want to thank Mayor Whalen and the city of Bluefield for having us over, for honoring us,” Large said. “It’s a great honor to bring the state championship back to Bluefield and the city is very proud of these young men and so are we coaches. This is a very special event.”
Michael Collins is in his first school term as principal of BHS. He is also an alumnus of the school. He is glad to see a strong relationship between they city and school.
“It’s great to have the city back this program and back the school,” Collins said. “One of my goals coming in as a new principal was to build a relationship between the city, the school and the community, so how better to do it than with a state championship and the city being able to recognize the achievements of our student athletes.”
After the presentations refreshments were available as were championship T-shirts, and even autographs from players and coaches.
— Contact Bob Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org