CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State championships are not easy to come by. Just ask Herbert Hoover High School.
That's part of what makes the Huskies' 7-5 win over Fairmont Senior in the Class AA baseball state title game Saturday so special in Elkview and Clendenin, because they're probably still dancing in the parking lot of the Clendenin Dairy Queen.
For many years, when Hoover was a small AAA school, it wasn't always easy to compete with the larger schools in the Kanawha Valley. With that in mind, here are some former Hoover athletes and coaches that come to mind as their community celebrates a state title.
Steve Chandler and Allen Chambers - Chandler was a football quarterback in the mid-1970s and a basketball star, while Chambers was a football and baseball standout who signed with WVU for football and later played baseball at West Virginia State.
Joe Cowley and the 1977 football team - The Huskies dreams of a state title ended in the AAA semifinals at a muddy East-West Stadium in Fairmont. Longtime Hoover fans were still grumbling that the field was watered down to slow down their speed. Cowley, Hoover's veteran coach, was loved by his peers.
Carlton Gandee - It wasn't easy for Gandee's Hoover basketball teams to compete with the elite teams in the Kanawha Valley Conference, but no team was better coached than his Huskies. His sons all had great nicknames - Hymie, Jargo, Bear and David - and all were great athletes.
Gary Groves and Barry Wheatcraft - Both were multi-sport athletes and graduated in 1972. Groves was a scorer in basketball and shortstop in baseball while Wheatcraft was a hard-working, physical banger in both football and basketball.
Jim, Ed and Mike Hamrick - Jim Hamrick took on the daunting task of merging the Elkview and Clendenin high school football programs when Hoover opened in the early 1960s. His son Ed was a kicker in 1973 and Mike played both ways in football from 1972-75. Both went on to play at Marshall. Ed has been a longtime state government official and Mike is now MU's athletic Director.