Basketball is the game. Legends, State Champs and NCAA referee Roger Ayers are the names.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club has it covered for its October 19th meeting at the Salem Civic Center where an exceptional group of coaches, players and a special NCAA referee will be assembled.
Five area coaching legends, from high school icons Paul Barnard, Woody Deans, Burrall Paye and Troy Wells, to long-time college coach Ed Green, will be honored for their achievements by receiving the club’s prestigious “Legends of the Game” award.
In addition, the Cave Spring Knights basketball players and staff will be on hand to be honored for their 2020 VHSL Class 3 State Championship that culminated a 27-2 record for the season.
NCAA referee Roger Ayers rounds out the night as guest speaker and Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Ross emcees the event for an evening sports fans will not want to miss.
Paul Barnard was the head basketball coach of the William Byrd Terriers before later becoming an assistant to Page Moir at Roanoke College. He also had an outstanding career as a basketball and football player while attending Byrd, as well as an assistant football coach for long-time Byrd mentor Jeff Highfill. Today, Barnard remains closely tied to high school basketball as an assistant at Salem High School. Paul has also been heard for decades as a sideline reporter and color commentator for high school football and basketball broadcasts, often joining broadcaster Ben Peyton at the microphone.
Woody Deans attended Patrick Henry High School as a student and ended up spending over 30 years at the school as a teacher, coach and athletic director. Deans was an assistant to another RVSC Legend of the Game, Dick Kepley, before taking over as head coach of the Patriots where he won state championships in 1988 and 1992. Deans’ 1988 team finished 29-1 and included players George Lynch who played in the NBA for 12 seasons, Curtis Blair who went on to play for Richmond, future VMI star Percy Covington, future Va,Tech football player Barnard Basham and current UC-Irvine head coach Russell Turner. That season PH defeated Maryland powerhouse DeMatha Catholic 79-71 in front of 9,632 fans at the Roanoke Civic Center. The 1992 PH team included standouts Troy Manns and Curtis Staples. Today, the basketball court at Patrick Henery bears his name.
Ed Green has over 40 years of combined coaching experience at the college and high school level. As the head coach at Roanoke College his teams won seven consecutive Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championships and went to the NCAA tournament 8 of his 12 years. He was named South Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year five years by his coaching peers. Green later coached the high school teams at Eastern Montgomery and North Cross. Today, Green spearheads an exceptional program, “Great Beginnings”, that focuses on the keys for young players understanding the fundamentals of starting out on a successful plan to become a player and enjoy the sport of their choice.
Burrall Paye coached for 37 years at Whittle Springs (Knoxville, TN), Powell Valley and William Fleming High Schools where his teams won 764 games and 64 different championships. He won 42 different Coach of the Year awards, including two State Coach of the Year and the National Federation Interscholastic Association Outstanding Coach of the Year. In his 18 years at Fleming Paye’s teams advanced to the regional semifinals or beyond 17 consecutive times, including seven trips to the state Final Four. Paye has written 12 books on basketball and hundreds of articles for national basketball publications, as well as being a speaker at major basketball clinics in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America.
Troy Wells coached high school basketball for 44 years at William Fleming, Christiansburg, Martinsville and Hidden Valley High Schools. Wells won eight state championships while at Martinsville, 5 as assistant to legendary Bulldog head coach Husky Hall and 3 more as Martinsville’s head coach in 2001, 2002 and 2006. His 2006 squad was highlighted by a win that ended Robert E. Lee-Staunton’s 88-game winning streak with a 63-54 victory in Richmond. Wells was inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Cave Spring Knights won the school’s fourth state championship in March, joining the teams in 2002, 2009 and 2010. The team’s 27-2 record were the most wins in school history, with senior point guard Jalen Buster being named Class 3 Player of the Year and head coach Jacob Gruse being named Class 3 Coach of the Year.
Roger Ayers, a Roanoke resident who has officiated over a thousand basketball games in his career, highlights the night as guest speaker. One of the top NCAA referees in the country, Ayers has been calling games in the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1998 and has been selected to officiate the NCAA Tournament more than a dozen times, including a member of the Final Four officiating crew. Ayers has always been one of the most popular speakers in RVSC history with his unique perspective and stories about college basketball.
The night begins at 5:45 with a social followed by a buffet dinner served by the Civic Center staff to adhere to social distancing protocol. Please note reservations are required and must be made in advance no later than Thursday, October 15th by visiting the club’s website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com. Due to COVID-19 restrictions no walk-ups or pay at the door entries will be accepted. Cost is $22 for non-members, $10 for children 4-16, with children under 4 free with adult.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club has been in existence since the 1970s, with a history of outstanding speakers that have included the likes of Lefty Driesell, Tony Bennett, Frank Beamer and NBA players Dell Curry and Bimbo Coles. Annual family memberships for the monthly meetings are available for $ 40.