All three of Wettstone's grandsons competed in college. David ran track at Marshall, Seth played football for Bob Pruett at Marshall and Tim played basketball and was an Academic All-American at James Madison. He also played professionally overseas.
I knew Wettstone when I lived in State College, Pa. We remarked about what a small world it was that I was impacting his hometown and his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were impacting my home area.
I enjoyed watching him enjoy the 1997 state basketball tournament, and it was one of the more enjoyable times of his life. He sat in the Poca cheering section, beaming and cheering with all of the Dot fans. I wondered if any of the Poca fans that week realized they were sitting with the "John Wooden of collegiate gymnastics."
Wettstone specialized in entertaining showmanship when he was a coach. He was known for making his gymnastics competitions an entertaining production. He was very impressed by the boys state basketball tournament that we host here in our state and appreciated the spirited and elaborate event it has become.
It really is an amazing story. Wettstone immigrated to our country from Austria. He became a legend in USA gymnastics. Then, his family comes to our state and makes an incredible impact here.
His son-in-law, Craig, was one of the most respected men in sports in our area. I know of no one who was beloved by their community more. He was the unofficial chaplain of Poca High School and the Poca athletic events. Many called him "the Praying Dot." He loved the kids and the parents in that community and they loved him back.
Sadly, our area lost him to cancer in September of 2008. The coaches and community of Poca still mourn his passing.
Now, at the age of 100, we lose his father-in-law, a man who coached a sport that we don't even have in our state, yet he still impacted our state through his family. It is the type of amazing story that we sometimes have here in athletics.
Reach Frank Giardina at fl...@hotmail.com.