HAMBLETON - Tom Gutshall coached the Tucker County Mountain Lions to more than 500 victories over the course of three decades.
Tonight he will coach his final contest in the North-South All-Star Classic. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the South Charleston Community Center.
"It's a great honor to be selected," Gutshall said. "The best part is, one of my players is playing in it. That makes it even more special."
Gutshall was chosen to be an assistant coach for the North squad, along with Washington coach Don Bullett. One of his players, Ian Nichols, was selected to play for the team.
"Ian really deserves to be on the team," Gutshall said. "He had a great career at Tucker County High School. This will be a great way for him to end his career, because he's not playing in college. He's going to WVU to work on a degree. Playing in the all-star game will be a great experience for him."
Nichols, a 6-3 forward, averaged nearly 16 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Mountain Lions, who advanced to the Class A state tournament. He was a second team Class A All-State selection and member of the All-PVC squad.
Along with Gutshall, Charleston Catholic coach Bill McClanahan also retired this season. McClanahan was selected as an assistant for the South squad, along with Winfield High School coach Pat McGinnis. Gutshall said he's looking forward to coaching against McClanahan and the two ending their careers coaching in the same game.
"It's going to be a good game," Gutshall said. "Coach McClanahan is also retiring, so it will be good to see him. I'm looking forward to coaching our last game against each other."
Along with Ian Nichols, Lewis County's Johnny Riley will also be playing on the North squad. Riley, a 6-foot-5 center, averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Minutemen. He was selected to the first team of the Class AAA All-State squad and was the Big 10 Conference's Player of the Year.
He has signed to continue his playing career at Davis &?Elkins College.
With that type of talent, Gutshall said coaching the team won't take much skill.
"It's an all star game, so there won't be much coaching involved," Gutshall said. "All these boys can play, so we're just going to let them showcase their talents and enjoy it.
"The biggest problem with coaching is the substitutions. We want to get them all equal time, because they all deserve it."
Along with the All-Star game, a slam dunk contest and three-point shootout are also planned beginning at 6 p.m. Tipoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m.
North-South All-Star softball
South takes series
BUFFALO?- The South captured two of three games in the North-South All-Star softball series held on Thursday.
The North team took the opening game 5-2 as Magnolia's Mallory Chapman pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and fanning six.
The South rebounded in the next two games, winning by scores of 7-5 and 3-0 in the deciding third game.
A pair of area players had good showings in the series for the North team, as Buckhannon-Upshur's Julie Tenney drove in two runs on a pair of doubles and Petersburg's Brittani Bible went 4 for 6 on the day with two triples and an RBI.
Tenney also won a first-to-third skills competition event.