The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 19, 2013

Bees’ Bill Malone retires as head girls’ basketball coach

FAIRMONT — After raising a child for 18 years, it’s sometimes hard to watch her leave or to put her into the care of someone else.

Longtime East Fairmont girls’ basketball coach Bill Malone could be feeling the same way.

After coaching the girls’ basketball team at East Fairmont for 35-plus years, Malone has retired from the position.

With it, he leaves many successful seasons, state playoff runs, all-Americans and fond memories.

The decision to step down came after a long, tenured career for Malone, who also coached multiple other sports over his career.

During his tenure as coach, which started in 1977, Malone coached great athletes such as Darcie Vincent, who went on to win a national championship as a coach at California (Pa.), and Vicki Woodring, who was named captain of the AAA all-state team during her time at East Fairmont. Vincent also became the first Marion County player to score 2,000 points in her high school basketball career.

As for the future of the program, Malone leaves it in the hands of James Beckman.

Beckman, who has spent the past seven years coaching the freshman boys’ team, feels honored to take over the job.

“He set the foundation for this program,” Beckman said of Malone. “The things that he did in the decades that he was here show that. He had some state title runs in AAA and was competitive in the AA schedule, and he produced some successful teams.”

The first-year girls’ coach fondly remembers the times he spent learning from Malone and other coaches at East Fairmont, and says Malone was not only a colleague, but a friend.

“He was a great mentor for me,” said Beckman. “I feel blessed to take over this girls’ program. It was a goal of mine to be a varsity coach. I was loyal and I was patient. I’m very fortunate to be where I am, and am thankful for what Bill did for our program. We’re in a better place because of it.”

Beckman attributed Malone to teaching him how to run a program, how to be a leader and said he played a pivotal role in his coaching methods.

“Anything X’s and O’s, he was more than willing to sit down with me,” said Beckman. “He was more than a mentor to me. He was a friend. And we still have that friendship. And I told him he’s welcome to come in my program any day. I want him to be around.

“That’s part of history for these girls. I want them to know about the success of the program and to know about Bill and the success that he’s had. That’s part of being a program.”

Brooklynn Weaver, a junior on the basketball team, played for Malone and said the success he endured as coach helps her understand the potential of the team in the future.

“He had some old traditions and a lot of basketball knowledge,” Weaver said of her former coach. “It gives you a sense of hope and some fire going into the season knowing that we can compete.”

Now, after decades of coaching the girls, Malone will sit back and watch a program he built head into the future.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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