By Mickey Furfari
For the Times West Virginian
Bill Maphis, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound forward, was rated West Virginia’s top high school basketball player when recruited by West Virginia University in 1960.
He had led Romney High to an undefeated season in 1959-60 under the guidance of the late Clyde Green, himself a former Mountaineer great. Green later coached at Morgantown High and is in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
Maphis, now 71 and residing in the Charlotte, N.C., area, excelled as a star under the late coach George King in 1963-64-65. He had played on a freshman team coached by the late Quintin Barnette, then was redshirted in 1962.
“I was recruited by Fred Schaus,” Maphis recalled last week. “I had hoped to play for him. But he left with Jerry West to coach in the NBA.”
As a superstar at his native town of Romney, he was considered No. 1 in the state by sports writers. He was voted captain of the all-state team as a senior.
“We had some good players at WVU and we won some pretty big games,” Maphis remembers. “But unfortunately, we’ve lost touch with teammates through the years.”
He helped the Mountaineers to consecutive records of 23-8, 18-10 and 14-15.
Maphis played in 84 varsity games. For his three seasons, he made 304 of 842 field-goal attempts and 189 of 261 free throws, scored 797 points, and had 561 rebounds and 87 assists.
He played in the 1963 and 1965 NCAA tournaments as a Mountaineer.
Maphis recalled that his team struggled most of the 1965 season. But it finished in blazing fashion to capture the Southern Conference title and NCAA berth.
Coming into that year’s regular-season finale with a six-game losing streak, the Mountaineers exploded for a 127-73 victory against Virginia Tech in a runaway at the old Field House (Stansbury Hall). The points total and the winning margin both were school records at that time.
Then the Mountaineers remained sizzling hot going into the Southern Conference Tournament the following week at Charlotte, N.C.
WVU shocked nationally No. 6-ranked George Washington 94-83 in the first round, Davidson 74-72 in overtime in the semifinals, and finally William & Mary 70-67 in double overtime for the championship.
“William & Mary always tried to play at a slow tempo,” Maphis said. “It always was a hard team to play.”
Maphis graduated in the spring of 1965 with a degree in physical education.
He taught and coached basketball at James Wood High School in Winchester, Va., for 18 years. Then he worked at a variety of jobs after leaving the school system.
Bill and wife Barbara have been married 42 years and are living in Fort Mill, N.C. They have three grown children and nine grandchildren. The adults are Susan, Paige and Molly. The grandsons are competing in sports, just like their grandfather did many years ago.