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RHS basketball has faced some greats over the years

By Pat Hanna

For The Nicholas Chronicle

Are you ready for some high school basketball?

Well, as things stand now, it will be March before the season begins, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So how about a trip down memory lane, or more specifically, a look back at the top players and coaches the Richwood Lumberjacks have faced over the past 70 years?

A couple of things to keep in mind: Richwood was a Class AAA school until it moved down to Class AA in 1978. Then in 2004, RHS was reclassified as Class A. And there was no 3-point line in high school basketball until 1988.

Information for this list was pulled from a number of sources, including newspaper archives, high school and college yearbooks, college media guides, a number of Internet sites, including a relatively new but very informative West Virginia Sports Writers Association Website (, Richwood and Beckley statistical history books authored by Jesse Skiles, and personal observations and interviews.

Comments and opinions are welcome and can be emailed to

Players on the top 20 list are in chronological order by their high school graduation dates.

• Dwayne Wingler, Beckley, 1954. A colorful character comments, Wingler enjoyed rock-star status during his high school years in Beckley. “He was Elvis before Elvis,” a teammate once recalled.

He was also quite an athlete. He led the Flying Eagles to three consecutive state championships and was a two-time first-team all-state selection, including first-team captain in 1954. He averaged 24.4 points as a junior, 25.5 as a senior and scored 1,583 career points at Beckley.

The 6-foot Wingler was at his best in big games, scoring 84 points in three state championship games.

In 1954, he made his last game in a Beckley uniform a memorable one. He scored a state championship game record 44 points as the Eagles beat Mullens 84-66. The story on the game the next morning in the Beckley newspaper carried the dateline WINGLERVILLE instead of MORGANTOWN. And in that same story, legendary Beckley coach Jerome Van Meter said Wingler was “not only the greatest I have ever had, but the finest I have ever seen.”

Wingler was also an all-state two-way back in football, and in 1954, he was named the state’s Amateur Athlete of the Year, winning the award over WVU football stars Sam Huff and Bruce Bosley.

He was recruited by both Adolph Rupp (basketball) and Bear Bryant (football) at Kentucky. He decided to play football, but before he arrived in Lexington, Bryant had left for Texas A&M, his last stop before Alabama, and was succeeded by Blanton Collier, who in 1964 coached the Cleveland Browns to the NFL championship.

Wingler suffered a knee injury in his freshman year at Kentucky. He tried to play basketball, but the damage to his knee was too much to overcome. He eventually settled in Richmond, Va., where he worked in the classic car business.

Wingler died in 2014. In a Charleston Gazette article on his death, former Richwood star Jim Young said of the Beckley great, “When he walked in the gym, everyone knew who he was, and from the minute he stepped on the court, he owned it.”





Revised dates set for winter and spring sports

The West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (SSAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 13, released the revised dates for the winter and spring sports seasons for secondary schools in West Virginia.

The revision came after Gov. Jim Justice’s recent announcement that winter sports competitions are allowed to begin on March 3.

Winter sports, including basketball and wrestling, can open preseason practices on Feb. 15. Teams must get a minimum of 14 practices in before playing in their first competition.

Girls basketball teams can open up play on March 3 and boys teams will start on March 5.

High school and middle school girls basketball practices had already been underway for one week in November before schools were ordered by the governor to return to remote learning. Boys basketball teams were to begin practice the following week.

The State High School Wrestling Tournament for Class A-AA will be held in Huntington on April 21-22.

The State High School Girls Basketball Tournament will be held in Charleston on April 27-May 1.

The State High School Boys Basketball Tournament will be held in Charleston on May 4-8.

Spring sports teams are permitted to begin practice on March 15. Competitions may begin on April 12.

The State High School Track Meet will be held in Charleston on June 10 for Class A and June 11 for Class AA.

The State High School Softball Tournament will be held in Charleston on June 22-23.

The State High School Baseball Tournament will be held in Charleston on June 24-26.





RHS footballers earn Coalfield Conference Team honors

Several Richwood High School football players were named to the Class A All-Coalfield Conference Team earlier this month.

Lumberjack quarterback Caleb Jantuah, a senior, was selected for first team offense.

Doye Ward III

Fullback Doye Ward III, a senior, and offensive lineman Tyler Workman earned a spot on second team offense.

Honorable Mention went to Tyler Barnhouse, Triston Miller and Camden Lawrence.

For defense, junior lineman Josh Landreth and sophomore Keaton Crowder were named to the first team.

Second team honors went to defensive lineman Zack Moose and defensive back Kaleb Greene.

• • • •

Jantuah had a career total of 40 rushing touchdowns and 30 passing touchdowns. He had three receiving touchdowns. He had a total of 5,864 offense yards.