Fairland salutes Carl York
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio -- Chesapeake High School vs. Fairland High School in basketball is always a big deal.
It's going to be an even bigger deal Friday when the boys rivals meet at Fairland. When the teams run onto the floor for the 7:30 p.m. clash, they'll be playing the first game in the Carl York Center. The school is paying tribute to the legendary coach of the Dragons by renaming the gym in his honor.
The dedication will be held at halftime. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria for former players who were on York-coached teams. A dedication committee handled the project.
Donald Capper, Lawrence County municipal judge, graduated from Fairland in 1973. Capper played football under coach Jim Mayo and basketball under the watchful eyes of York. That will make Capper 2-for-2 for playing for a coach who has a facility named after him. Fairland's football stadium was renamed Jim Mayo Stadium on Oct. 9, 2009. Mayo passed away on March 19, 2010. York died in 1994.
"I never heard the man raise his voice," Capper said of York. "You could tell if he was upset. I had a lot of respect for him. He had a calm demeanor. He knew what he wanted. Today (some) coaches act buddy-buddy. That's a line he did not cross. He didn't have to yell at us. He led by example."
York's time at Fairland began in 1954 and ended in 1978. His tenure was interrupted for 18 months while he served in the Army. He returned in 1956 on a teaching exemption. In addition to coach and teacher, he served as school principal. York later coached basketball at South Point High School and his 1980-81 team went 18-0 during the regular season.
During his coaching career, York posted a 423-159 record including 321-138 at Fairland. York produced four 20-win seasons and his teams won seven Ohio Valley Conference championships, six sectionals, two district crowns and a regional title. He was named to the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches' Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Naismith Memorial OHSAA Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Capper helped produce a pamphlet about York's career and it will be passed out at the reception.
"It's been great going down memory lane," Capper said of conversations he and fellow players had while organizing the event. "A lot of the guys are older than me. When we see each other, we hear the stories. It's like we tell war stories."
York and his wife Barbara had three daughters, Beverly, Sharon and Linda. Capper said the children live in Lexington, Ky., and will be in for the ceremony and game.
York grew up in Mullens, W.Va. His basketball coach at Mullens High was Lewis D'Antoni, father for former Marshall University standout guard Mike D'Antoni, who now coaches the Los Angeles Lakers. York went on to Marshall where he played football (safety) and basketball. An injury cut his football career short, but York did go the distance in basketball under legendary coach Cam Henderson.
One of the clips in the York pamphlet is about an interview York did and the topic was Henderson.
"He talks about Cam and what he learned from Cam," Capper said. "We're going to reprint that."
York's 1961 Fairland team got the nickname "The Untouchables" as those Dragons went unbeaten in the regular season and reached the state tournament where they lost to Ayersville in the quarterfinals to finish 25-1. Capper's brother, Eddie, was on that team. The next season, Fairland went 25-2.