Losing some key players

Retirements are as much a part of the sports community as they are the business world.

With the end of the school and fiscal years, several prominent people who have made a impact on the local sports community have stepped down. Although they went out quietly, each is deserving of some public recognition.

Start with Belpre athletics director Ken Cox. Our sports staff deals with the ADs at 26 different high schools. No offense to any of the other 25, but none has kept us as informed of their school’s activities as Cox.

Anytime Belpre had a schedule change, he let us know. In turn, we were able to let our readers and Belpre’s fans know. Cox understood that a big part of an AD’s job is communication, and he excelled in that area.

My staff long has admired Cox for the way he handled himself on the football field and softball diamond. We wanted to do a story on his retirement, but Ken – in his typical fashion -wanted to go out quietly.

Then there’s Joe Hushion of Chapman Printing. For years, he served as the head of the local Mountaineer Athletic Club, working tirelessly to promote West Virginia University athletics and to raise money so that the Mountaineer athletic program could be successful.

I enjoyed reading Jeff Saulton’s recent story on Hushion’s retirement. It brought back a lot of good memories of a man who gave a lot of his time and effort to WVU sports.

One group that has lost a lot of talent in recent years is Wood County Schools. Its most recent high-profile retiree is assistant superintendent Sue Woodward. When controversies arose over the Parkersburg South wrestling position and funding for the local football stadiums, I inherited the duty of covering BOE meetings.

Woodward always was helpful in explaining issues and getting information. She realizes that unlike the ‘gotcha’ attitude of many national media members, those of us who cover our community do so to shed light on issues in the hope of making it a better place.

Best wishes to this trio who indeed left their mark on the Mid-Ohio Valley.

A Good Call: When the phone rings in the sports department, you never know who is going to be on the other end of the line.

Many calls are mundane, such as taking local sports announcements. Occasionally, you get an uplifting call that keeps you going for the rest of the day. It was my honor to receive such a call last week.

It was 10:30 p.m. and I was waiting on the Major League Baseball games to end, when the phone rang. I figured it was an American Legion score. Instead, it was my long-time friend, Mickey Furfari, who has been writing sports in the Mountain State since he and the legendary Jack Fleming were co-sports editors of The Daily Anthenaeum in 1946.

Mickey had written a piece on Father George Nedeff and wanted to share it with our readers, which we did in Sunday’s paper.

A?member of the WVU Hall of Fame, Mickey is a Mountain State treasure I am proud to call my friend.