The Times West Virginian


March 29, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

MORGANTOWN — Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

After being redshirted in his freshman year, Brooks lettered in 1985-86, 86-87, 87-88 and 88-89.

He was named a team captain as a senior. He had helped his teams to consecutive records of 22-11, 23-8, 18-14 and 26-5.

With him in the lineup, the Mountaineers competed in three NCAA Tournaments and one National Invitation Tournament.

“It was wonderful playing for Coach Catlett. I really enjoyed that,” he said during a visit to Morgantown.

“You learn a lot of stuff. You had to learn his system well. That’s the way he wanted it to be. It took me some time to really understand that system.”

But eventually you could see that Brooks had become well-versed in what Catlett expected from him.

Brooks is a member of the WVU men’s all-time basketball team honor roll for the 1980s.

In all, he played a total of 121 games during his four-year career. Brooks made 404 shots from the field in 937 attempts (47.4 percent). Sixteen were 3-point goals in 63 attempts (28.6 percent).

From the foul line, he cashed 201 of 261 free throws for 77.6 percent accuracy.

With an aggregate of 1,105 points, Brooks finished averaging 9.1 points per game. He also was credited with 292 rebounds, 217 assists, 109 steals and four blocked shots.

Brooks said, “I really enjoyed playing basketball in college. Absolutely, those were the best years of my life.

“College life in general was most enjoyable. To play basketball and travel the world was quite an experience for me.”

He graduated from WVU in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. He also spent a year in graduate school.

After leaving Morgantown, Brooks kept playing basketball in leagues both in this country and abroad.

What did he do after that?

“I decided to join the real world,” Brooks replied with a grin. “I had to get a job and support the kids.”

Brooks, who is back residing in Mullens, is associated with the firm of Alpha Natural Resources. It is located in Pettus, W.Va.

He joined that company six years ago.

A team captain in both his junior and senior years, Brooks had excelled at Mullens High in the early 1980s. He led his team to three West Virginia state Class A championships. Don Nuckols was his coach.

In the process, Brooks earned All-State first-team honors three years in a row.

Brooks, who is divorced, has three children. Those are Derek, 27, an IT technician for McDowell County schools; Kelsey, 24, of Beckley; and Bayles, 14, of Beckley.

He also has a 1-year-old granddaughter named Alexa.

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