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GMan

1967 WV AAA State Championship

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Confederate Flag story.

In 1957 Big Creek went undefeated but finished third in the ratings. Until 1972 only the top two teams played for the championship in each class in WV. Big Creek thought that they were screwed out of the championship game because the WVSSAC gave Weir a late point for a Martins Ferry win. Big Creek sued and lost (the WVSSAC was in fact correct). The WVSSAC was vindictive and banned Big Creek from all sports in 1958. After a disappointing 1958 season Bluefield lured coach Merrill Gainer away from Big Creek in 1959. Bluefield went undefeated and won the WV AAA championship. In 1960 Bluefield again went undefeated but only finished 4th in the ratings behind Weir (9-1), Nitro (10-0), and East Bank (9-0). Bluefield fans and others 'down south" felt as Bluefield was robbed just like they thought Big Creek was in 1957. They adopted the southern rebel attitude because the south was always getting screwed. They adopted the rebel flag as the school symbol and the fight song became "Dixie". This lasted all the way thru the 1967 season. Gainer left after the season for Patrick Henry and John Chmara was promoted to head coach. More importantly Park Central was closed for good. Although the rebel flag and Dixie were not used for racist reasons the leaders at the school and the city knew that this would not work in a completely integrated school. Mayor Ed Elliot (who was also the play by play radio announcer at that time) and others sat down to consider the situation. They knew that the people of Bluefield would not abandon the song and the flag without replacements. That is when they came up with the "We Believe" slogan and the logo with the Beaver inside the "B". They printed massive quantities of T shirts and sold the logo on everything including front car tags. They adopted on Wisconsin as the fight song and the band was no longer allowed to play Dixie. A tremendous marketing campaign went on the promote the new image, It obviously worked. 

An interesting side note to the 1967 game. Bill Jarrett was the new coach at Stonewall Jackson in 1967 and that was the opponent in the championship game. In one of the articles in a Charleston newspaper the reporter was asking him all the usual questions about the game. At the end of the article he asked Jarrett who was going to win. Jarrett response was. "I don't know but they aren't going to go up there (Parkersburg) and play Dixie all day". Of course Bluefield did go up there and wave the flags and play Dixie all day. The irony of the situation is the Charleston school was named for the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson who was a native of what is now WV. General Jackson certainly would not have minded the flags and the music that day.

 

If you watch the 1962 championship game video on the same site and watch the post game awards you clearly see Bluefield waving a large Confederate flag on the field after the game,

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Bluefields Researcher, great stuff man. Dude, you have got to write a book with the wealth of knowledge and information you have. A book about local and forgotten stories focusing on the Beavers, but throwing in my GMen, and the history of guys like Gainer and his coaching tree, all the Big Creek stuff, even Northfork basketball, the Tazewell/Big Creek Dave Ryder/Jason Whitten connection, etc. 

If you ever did this, my promise to purchase 500 copies off the top and distribute them.  Brother, you have a gift in that brain of yours filled with incredible knowledge that needs to be shared.  You probably would need 2 books to share the knowledge drop because I know you got stories upon stories.  Think about my post and ponder it BR.  You really have a gift dude and that knowledge drop would basically tie the 20th and early 21st century together to where someone 50 years from now could fill in the gap after the year 2000.

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I learned something pretty interesting about the WV succession from VA. It seems that the law states (ed) that a part of a state could not leave another state without that state's permission. Because Virginia's government had succeeded from the union Lincoln set up a "true and legitimate" government of Virginia in Wheeling which was still a part of Virginia. This government immediately gave WV permission to leave the rest of Virginia. 

Also right up there with the worst decisions of all time....Loudoun, Fairfax. Prince William and Accomac Counties wanted to go with the other counties and be part of WV. We turned them down. Right up there with Bluefield, WV turning down Wal Mart.

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6 hours ago, Bluefield researcher said:

I learned something pretty interesting about the WV succession from VA. It seems that the law states (ed) that a part of a state could not leave another state without that state's permission. Because Virginia's government had succeeded from the union Lincoln set up a "true and legitimate" government of Virginia in Wheeling which was still a part of Virginia. This government immediately gave WV permission to leave the rest of Virginia. 

Also right up there with the worst decisions of all time....Loudoun, Fairfax. Prince William and Accomac Counties wanted to go with the other counties and be part of WV. We turned them down. Right up there with Bluefield, WV turning down Wal Mart.

I would trade those counties straight up for the Charles Town casino.

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