A Concise, Far From Complete, Thumbnail Sports Sketch (1963)

George W. Springer This article was written by George W. Springer for Beckley USA in 1963.

No thorough review of Beckley can be complete without the sports picture, which is a very bright one as far as Woodrow Wilson High is concerned. With its illustrious coach of more than 25 years-Jerome Van Meter-and its many championships won in basketball and football, sports has built Beckley into a highly-thought of community in the state of West Virginia.

But it would be impossible to say that the athletes of the 50s are better than those of the 30s, or try to compare those of the 20s against the 40s. So, in picking an All-Time Woodrow Wilson football and basketball team the natural thing to do was divide them into two eras. In the 20s and 30s the sports were not the same as they were in the 40s and 50s. This was especially true in basketball, which underwent many radical changes once the center jump was eliminated.

Football, too, changed-but more from the coaching standpoint as newer and better offenses were displayed to put offense in the limelight and make it difficult for the defense to get its share of glory. It was easy to pick a football squad because Woodrow Wilson started a football Hall of Fame some five years ago with this writer as its secretary and the men, elected by themselves, to this select group made it easy for the writer to assemble two teams from each era.

For the writer to say he's an expert on Woodrow Wilson athletics, would be an attempt to "fool the public", for he has only seen the team from the first championship basketball team in 1946, on down through the years.

But to go back before that time was easy. So many folks who remember basketball and football of the 20s and 30s were willing to talk about the stars, that the teams fell quickly into place. It was easier talking to players rather than the great "Grey Eagle" coach, who'd say, "They're all good. I couldn't pick one boy over another."

So with Van Meter sidelining himself from making comparisons, the writer had to rely on the boys them. selves and came up with the teams.

While Woodrow Wilson sports were great in the early years, they have become greater in the latter. One way to compare is the number of boys that made official All-State teams. In basketball, for instance, only five Flying Eagles were All-Staters through the basketball season of 1940.

In football, Woodrow Wilson had more. . .a total of nine. A list of those all-Staters before the 40s would read like this:

In basketball: 1934, Aldo Cipolat and John Calloway, second teams; in 1939, Ted Cook, first team; in 1940, Jimmy Bakalis, first team, and Arnold Yost, second team.

In football: 1929, Tom Covey, second team fullback; 1932, Ned Quinn, second team tackle; 1933, Frank Huffman, first team end; 1935, Charles Stansbury, second team end; 1937, Stan Huffman, second team guard; 1938, Jesse Hanson, first team end; Buster Smith, first team back; Vic Peelish, second team guard; 1940, George Davis, first team guard.

But since the turn of the 40s the honor roll of Beckleyans on All-State teams has kept increasing in both football and basketball and besides the names you read on the All-Time teams, you come across such names in football as Dick Davis, 1947; Jack Davis, 1948; Joe Conte, 1949; Bob Davis, 1951; Bob Bruce, 1952, and in basketball, Bob Davis, 1952.

Humbly the writer submits these all-time all-star teams knowing that perhaps someone else could pick a few more than are mentioned here.

But let the writer say, an honest attempt was made to pick the best, that all those interviewed were most cooperative and that maybe 20 years hence, someone will come up with a 1961-1980 list that would start of course with such names as Bane Sarrett, 1962; Billy Karbonit, 1963, and so on.

Composite Teams From the Files of Woodrow Wilson Greatest Performers

All-Time Woodrow Wilson Football

Frank Huffman, 1934EndBob Goldsmith, 1945
Jesse Hanson, 1939EndHoward Hurt, 1956
Benson Lewis, 1929TackleTillie Galluccio, 1948
Nelson Bragg, 1935TackleLloyd Shutko, 1948
Stanley Huffman, 1938GuardNick Rahall, 1949
Clarence Underwood, 1933GuardAugie Hovanski, 1947
Sam Tucker, 1931CenterJames Turner, 1949
C. J. McQuade, 1924QuarterWilliam Sigmund, 1948
Tom Covey, 1930HalfbackRandy Broyles, 1949
Chester Lynch, 1923HalfbackDon Hodson, 1949
Fred Hurt, 1930FullbackBob Crews, 1952

Second Teams

Charles Stansbury, 1935EndRudd Mahoney, 1956
Ben Carbo, 1940EndJack Davis, 1949
Eddie Berginnis, 1933TackleZernie Wickline, 1948
Ned Quinn, 1932TackleLewis Webb, 1951
Vic Peelish, 1939GuardBill McQueen, 1952
George Davis, 1940GuardJ. D. Kidd, 1950
Harry Roberts, 1922CenterJohn Wald, 1952
Paul Malone, 1928HalfbackDwayne Wingler, 1954
John Calloway, 1934HalfbackHarold Wooddell, 1947
Jim Kuhn, 1939FullbackRobert Young, 1957
John "Buster" Smith, 1939QuarterDanny Williams, 1957

All-Time Woodrow Wilson Basketball

Ted Cook, 1939Arnold Yost, 1941
Aldo Cipolat, 1934Bob Goldsmith, 1945
Lunda Sarrett, 1931Jimmy Bakalis, 1941
Fred Hurt, 1930Lawrence Hunt, 1946
Paul Malone, 1928Howard Hurt, 1956
Frank Vass, 1928Willie Bergines, 1952
Bob Turner, 1930William Collier, 1953
Paul Adamos, 1937Dwayne Wingler, 1954
John Douglas, 1938Frank Rodriguez, 1947
Paul Harless, 1932Walter Rappold, 1957

Second Teams

Charles Harless, 1933Danny Williams, 1957
Robert Douglas, 1940Buddy Bales, 1958
Melvin Wood, 1938Aubrey Jackson, 1943
John Calloway, 1934Tony Lusk, 1954
Ed Mohler, 1932Steve Ulaki, 1944
Walt Rappold, 1929Nick Bakalis, 1946
Elbert Thurman, 1939Robert Davis, 1952
Leslie Lilly, 1932Joseph Rodriguez, 1941
Bob Long, 1930Jesse Lilly, 1941
Robert French, 1932Earl Gilbert, 1957

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