Putnam County has had some greats

By Frank Giardina
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's been an exciting athletic year at Hurricane High School.Last fall, Jim Dagostine's boys soccer team won the AAA state championship over Parkersburg. Two weeks ago, Hurricane's boys basketball team made its first trip to the state tournament.  This spring, the Redskins' baseball and softball teams both appear to be state tournament contenders.The recent state tournament appearance against Woodrow Wilson brought to mind the names of some nearly forgotten athletes and coaches from  Hurricane's history. .
  • Tom Chaney - Chaney was one of the best basketball players in Hurricane history. His 1967-68 team featured him and teammates Greg LeMasters, Doug Smith, Kenny Smith and Rodney Edwards. Following high school, Chaney went to Ferrum Junior College in Virginia, then went on to a great career at West Virginia Tech for Pete Phillips in the early 1970s. He surprised everyone on campus by offering to play football for the first time in his last semester and ended up being an all-conference-caliber tight end. 
  • Doc and Andy Holliday - John "Doc" Holliday is certainly not forgotten. The Marshall football coach is one of the more visible figures in the area and has had a long coaching career at WVU, NC State and Florida. What may be forgotten is that Holliday was more than just a football player at Hurricane. He also won a state wrestling championship in 1975. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Andy, should not be overlooked.  He was a football standout for the Redskins in the late 1970s and went on to WVU from 1979-82. 
  • Steve Lewis - A 1974 Hurricane grad, Lewis went on to an outstanding football career at WVU, catching 111 passes for 1,718 yards from 1974-78. He was part of a solid in-state recruiting class that included such names as Bill McKenzie from Warwood,  David "Duck" Riley from Northfork, Danny Williams from DuPont and Tom Pridemore from Ansted.
  • Coach Jim Sovine - Sovine played football at Morris Harvey in the 1950s and coached at Guyan Valley, Buffalo and Winfield before arriving at Hurricane. He made his biggest mark on the state scene at Winfield, where he ran an early version of the wishbone before anyone knew what it was and won Class A state title with the Generals in 1960, 1961 and 1963. His 1960 team defeated Alderson 20-13, his 1961 team beat Williamstown 19-13 and his 1963 team beat Northfork 26-13.
  • Rusty Sovine - One of the better all-around athletes to come out of Hurricane, the younger Sovine graduated in 1976. He was a quarterback who led the football team to a 21-9 record in three seasons. He suffered an injury as a senior but still threw for over 800 yards in the last six games. In basketball he was an outstanding shooter and averaged  21 points and nine rebounds in his three-year career. He went on to play football at Morehead State, where he played behind Phil Simms in 1977 and 1978. 
  • Reach Frank Giardina at flg16@hotmail.com.  
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