A labor of love is almost complete for Tex Williams.
At noon on Monday, July 28, the Tex Williams Museum in Artie will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by state basketball legends Jerry West and Willie Akers.
I’ve seen the museum, and it’s incredible. Our state has never had such a facility in southern West Virginia for articles, stories and sports memorabilia. The creation of the museum has been a driving passion for the former St. Albans coaching legend, as it’s ultimately being done to honor his mother. It’s housed at his old “homeplace” and is in the facility where his mom served as a longtime postmaster.
Besides West and Akers, here’s a list of others who are expected to come for the Grand Opening:
Chris Smith: One of our state’s best basketball big men and a great post player from Charleston High, Smith went on to a Hall of Fame career at Virginia Tech. He was one of five from southern West Virginia to start for the Hokies during his era.
Lewis D’Antoni: One of our state’s most beloved sports figures, D’Antoni is now almost 101 years old. He was a legendary coach at Mullens and two of his sons, Mike and Danny, coached in the NBA.
Howard Hurt: An incredible high school basketball player at Beckley in the 1950s, Hurt is Woodrow Wilson’s all- time leading scorer. He went on to collegiate fame at Duke and was a two-time captain for Vic Bubas in Durham, N.C.
Dwayne Wingler: Considered by most sports historians in our state to be the greatest player in Woodrow’s storied basketball history, he went to Kentucky to play basketball for Adolph Rupp and football for Bear Bryant.
Sonny Allen: The Moundsville native is one of the all- time greats in Marshall basketball history. Allen also coached at Old Dominion, SMU and Nevada. His son Billy, a great college player at SMU, and former Marshall teammates John Milhoan, Jack Freeman and Lou Mott are also scheduled to attend.
Donnie Smith: A former state championship-winning coach at Huntington Vinson and a former player at Dayton, Smith led Vinson to the Class AA state title in 1966.
Don Nuckols: He won multiple state titles at Mullens and coached such players as Jerome Anderson, Herbie Brooks, Mike D’Antoni, Shawn Finney, Willie Stewart and Greg White.
Henry Dickerson: One of the all-time great players in the history of the West Virginia Conference for Rich Meckfessel at Morris Harvey, Dickerson made both the all-conference and all-tournament teams four years in a row.
Joey Holland: He was a member of Kentucky’s 1975 NCAA runner-up team that lost to UCLA in John Wooden’s last game.
Greg Hawkins and Tim DiPiero: Both were high school stars in Huntingon. Hawkins let Huntington High to a 1969 AAA boys state title and then played at N.C. State on the 1974 NCAA championship team with David Thompson and Tom Burleson. DiPiero played at St. Joseph and was the MVP of the 1967 Catholic tournament.
Ex-UC players: Many former University of Charleston players will be on hand, including David Daniel, Keith Tyler and Tony Gordon.
Ex-St. Albans players: Former Red Dragon players Tom Neal, Wendell Morrison and Tom “Red” Osborne will be there. Neal played at Tennessee and Morris Harvey, while Morrison went to Old Dominion.
It will also be a reunion for many former assistant coaches on Tex’s staff. Among those scheduled to attend are Bill Walton, Arnold Moore, John Mawyer, Jack McClanahan, Scott Tweedy and Richard Hill.
Walton had great success as a high school coach at South Charleston. He played collegiately at Eastern Kentucky and then took South Charleston to back-to-back appearances in the AAA state title game in 1982-83.
Williams is bringing an old building back to life with this incredible museum to honor his mother. She would be thrilled to see this much activity in her building on July 28.
Reach Frank Giardina at firstname.lastname@example.org.