CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A family member says West Virginia high school basketball coaching legend Willie Akers has been hospitalized after a fall at the Charleston Civic Center Wednesday morning.His son, Chad, said his father was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center for treatment of a fractured vertebrae and broken nose. A hospital operator said he was under evaluation Wednesday evening.Akers, 75, stumbled on the edge of the basketball court, which is slightly elevated from the ground floor at the Civic Center.Logan boys basketball coach Mark Hatcher, whose team played a game against Winfield at the Civic Center on Wednesday night during the "Shootout at the Big House'' showcase event, said Willie Akers was there to watch his grandson play in a middle school game during the morning.
Hatcher said Akers suffered a cut on his forehead after the fall and also lost a lot of blood."The next 48 hours will be critical,'' Hatcher said, "but he's a strong man, and we're hopeful he'll recover.''Akers was a teammate of Jerry West's at West Virginia University from 1958-60. Akers later coached the Logan High School boys basketball team to four Class AAA state championships.