CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On this week of Thanksgiving, it's time to give thanks for some West Virginians in the world of sports.
Many people were there to pay tribute to the D'Antoni and his family. His sons Mike and Danny now coach in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, youngest son Mark is a Charleston attorney and daughter Kathy is a longtime assistant state superintendent of schools.
The soon-to-be 99-year-old former coach remembered when his 1956 Mullens team, led by Willie Akers, lost to Jerry West and East Bank in the semifinals of the state basketball tournament.
"I felt so bad for a long time after that game," recalled Lewis D'Antoni. "I just couldn't figure out a way to help Willie and those boys stop Jerry West. Then, when I watched him in college at WVU, I saw that no one there could stop him either. Then I watched him in the NBA with the Lakers and no one there could really stop him either. So, once I saw that, I didn't feel so bad."
I'm thankful for some of our Olympic greats such as Mary Lou Retton, Vicky Bullett, Randy Barnes, James Jett and others.
I'm thankful for Pro Football and College Football Hall of Famers such as Sam Huff, Frank "Gunner" Gatski, Mike Barber and Pittsburgh native Major Harris. I am thankful for a future Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss. I am also thankful for honorary West Virginians like Jeff Hostetler and Chad Pennington, who have given so much back to our state.
And, as we approach high school basketball season, I am thankful for so many of the West Virginia basketball coaching legends such as Jerome Van Meter, Preach Wiseman, Jennings Boyd, Don Nuckols, Sam Andy, Tex Williams, Lou Romano, Donnie Smith, Akers and many others. They have all impacted so many lives in our state.