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January 15, 2013

Respected coach

‘Happy’ Belmear leaves mark in Marion County

FAIRMONT — His name was Horace Belmear, but most people in the Marion County area called him “Happy.”

He was the coach for Dunbar High School’s athletic teams in the 1940s and ’50s.

Belmear perhaps was more famous for his Dunbar Tiger football team than basketball, but his cagers, as they were often called, had some strong teams also.

Belmear has been named to the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame.

Being named to Hall of Fames is nothing new for him. Three that are easily recalled are the West Virginia State Hall of Fame, the West Virginia State College Sports Hall of Fame and the WVU Physical Education Hall of Fame.

There probably have been few people who have kept as busy throughout their life than Belmear

Belmear, who picked up his popular nickname 60 years ago when he was the much-heralded and successful coach of the Dunbar Tigers — a career that came to an end following integration.

There are few records available from Belmear’s coaching days. But the students who are still alive from that era remember him as being a fantastic coach and a man who taught them how to do well as young men and women in society.

It is a known fact that one of the major disappointments in Belmear’s life came when he failed to be appointed as the head football coach or an assistant at Fairmont Senior High, being told by the higher-ups in the school administration that Marion County was not ready for a black football coach. This was not a secret he kept from the public.

 

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