DOZENS OF FORMER Charleston High School athletes are in town this weekend for the Mountain Lions All-Class Reunion. For many former CHS athletes, it's also a time to remember their former teammates who have passed away. I can't name them all, but here are a few.
Dean Blake - Blake and Chris Smith played on one of the best teams in CHS basketball history in 1957. They were 25-2 before losing to Woodrow Wilson in the state title game. Both went on to be stars at Virginia Tech. In Blacksburg, Blake roomed with Mullens native Rick Tolley, the head coach of the 1970 Marshall football team that was lost in the plane crash.
Sonny Burls - A 5-foot-6 point guard on the great CHS basketball teams of 1967 and '68, Burls made the winning shot at the buzzer against Huntington East to win the regional final in 1967.
Terry Cantrell - He was a junior high multi-sport phenom at Thomas Jefferson and a rare sophomore starter on the state championship football team in 1969. He got sidetracked with personal issues as a junior and senior, but turned his life around shortly after high school. He died young, but his was an example of a changed life and he was known as an outstanding father, husband and friend.
Clifford Harris - One of the great defensive players in school history, Harris played on great teams in the 1960s and went on to play at WVU in 1970 and '71.
Lowell Harris - He was a 5-6 point guard on the 1973 and 1974 teams that won state basketball titles. He impacted the lives of many as a longtime coach in the area at Capital.
Larry Harris - The beloved "Deacon" played basketball from 1967-69 and won a AAA state title in 1968. He still holds several state tournament rebounding records. He was on his way to an outstanding career at WVU when he was tragically killed in a car accident early in his junior season in 1971.
Ralph Jean - One of the great sports tragedies in our area, this baseball star drowned just before graduation at the time his 1970 team was playing in the sectional baseball tournament.
Don Megginson - A star in football and basketball, most who knew this gentle strongman consider him one of the nicest people they had ever met. He was a star at CHS in the mid-1960s.
Billy McCoy - Our area lost this former CHS pitching star earlier this year. He was a member of the 1970 baseball team, one of the best in school history.