MHS to induct new Hall of Fame class this week

By Paul Adkins padkins@civitasmedia.com

September 3, 2014

MAN — It’s Hall of Fame week at Man High School.

Man will induct its newest class, consisting of Ralph Cecil McCane, John Gibson, Hiram McCoy, Danny Ray Miller, Sammy Stepp, Norman Noel, Julia Doss Fleming and John F. Vance at the Man High School Athletic Hall of Fame banquet on Thursday at 6 p.m. at MHS.

There will also be a golf outing on Thursday.

The new Hall of Fame class will also be recognized at halftime of Friday night’s Hall of Fame Game against Mount View at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

The following are biographical sketches of the 2014 Man High School Hall of Fame class as provided by MHS:

Ralph Cecil McCane

Ralph Cecil McCane was a 1938 Man High School graduate who played football, basketball, and baseball for the Hillbillies.

Ralph was a guard on offense and a tackle on defense in football and played second base in baseball.

Ralph received the title of Best Athlete in his senior year (Varsity Club) under the legendary coach George A. Queen.

McCane was the first in his family to graduate from high school — Ralph wanted to expand his horizons, so he attended high school, worked full-time in the coal mines on the evening shift, and played sports in the afternoon.

When Ralph became 21, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he became a mechanic for the new B-17 Bombers, and after the Pearl Harbor attacks, he was one of the first Americans to go to England and perform low altitude bombing of Germany.

Eventually, Ralph became a Master Sergeant responsible for the readiness of 60 bombers and the enlisted men who performed the maintenance for the planes.

After WWII Ralph completed his education with an Accounting Degree and secured a job with General Electric and their newly established jet engine development and manufacturing facility in Cincinnati. After various promotions and charitable work for GE, Ralph retired after 35 years of service.

Ralph was married to Joan Sedgwick McCane for 53 years until his death. Their children are Cecilia McCane Kuzma, a VP for Proctor & Gamble, Ret. and now a math teacher; Byron McCane, a professor at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

Ralph never lost his love of sports. He actively played golf and bowled. He never lost touch with his family in Man.

Each year, he and his family would return to visit parents, brothers and sisters and family picnics at Rock House, singing at the Mallory Church of God and Big Springs Baptist Church. Ralph passed away on September 5, 1998 at 80 years of age.

John “Popsicle” Gibson

John “Popsicle” Gibson graduated from Man High School in 1964 and played football all three years for the Hillbillies.

John began his athletic career playing Little League Baseball for four years. He holds the home run record at the old Man field — 13 in 18 games.

John decided to expand his sports career, playing football for Coach R.C. McCellen in 1960-61. For the Hillbillies, John played both offensive and defensive lines as a member of the “Blue Bandits” in 1963, which lost only one game and had the No. 2 Defense in West Virginia playing for Coach Joe Pete Burgess.

After graduation, John worked at No. 2 Lundale for Amherst Coal Co.until 1968 when he moved to Pontiac, Mich., and worked for Pontiac Motors for 24 years.

In 1991, John received an opportunity to work in the Saturn Plant in Springhill, Tenn. He worked there until his retirement in 2000.

John is active in his church and is a member of the VIM team that travels the Eastern USA doing mission work on storm and flood damages homes, including a trip to Mullins in 2002 to rebuild flooded homes.

John is a member of the Masonic Lodge 618 of Centerville, Tenn., a member of Local 1853 UAW of Springhill, and the Shady Grove United Methodist Church.

John married Betty Lakin of Amherstdale in 1968. They celebrate 46 years together with their two children, Mary Ann McInnes and John M. Gibson, Jr. He and Betty have two lovely grand daughters — Eleanor and Heather Shipley — who light up their lives.

After a diabetic amputation of his right leg below the knee in 2013, John started with the assistance of several doctors and nurses — the Fifth Amputee Support Group in Tennessee — and enjoys helping others with the same problem he has been through.

Hiram McCoy

Hiram McCoy is a 1965 graduate of Man High School where he played football and held positions of a two-way player and kicker.

His team represented MHS with pride and camaraderie.

After high school he joined the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Texas for two years where he played on the base football and basketball teams as well as the softball team.

In 1967, Hiram was stationed at Nah Trang, Vietnam for one year, before returning to Ogden, Utah where he was honorably discharged in 1969.

On his 21st birthday in 1969, he was hired as a driver for United Parcel Service in Columbus, Ohio and was employed by the company for 25 years. He held various positions such as driver, supervisor in charge of training new drivers, and manager of numerous offices in Columbus and around Ohio.

During that time McCoy played recreational softball and eventually umpired for around 15 years.

Hiram married Patricia Plummer in 1969. They were together 27 years and have two wonderful sons, Joe and Jeff — both are police officers in the Columbus area.

After retiring from UPS, Hiram opened his own insurance agency, Farmers Insurance and continued working for seven years. In his second retirement Hiram enjoys playing tennis and golf. He lives in New Albany, Ohio, with his wife, Marjorie (a 1965 MHS graduate).

Denny Ray Miller

Denny Ray Miller graduated Man High School in 1965 and attended Marshall University where he persued a degree in history and was inducted into the National History Honorary at MU.

Afterward, he began his teaching career at Man High School teaching world history, American history, economics, government, law and legal, and sponsored the MHS Hillbilly newspaper. He also taught AP U.S. history and was employed by Southern, Marshall University and WVU Extension imparting his love of history until his retirement after 35 years.

Denny’s coaching career began when he helped establish the Midget League Football program in the Triadelphia area, but the highlight of his career was being assistant coach for Tootie Carter and the Man High School Hillbillies for 25 years.

In 1971, Denny married Katherine Williamson. They have two daughters, Denise White and Tracie Kitchen.

All three of the women in his life are graduates of Marshall University. Katherine taught for 30 years as an Elementary School teacher. Denise teaches math at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College at Logan, and Tracie is a geologist and works for the Department of Environmental Protection in Logan.

In his retirement, Denny enjoys reading, fishing, camping, and being papaw to Hunter, Halee, Rylee and Ryder.

Sammy Stepp

A 1974 graduate of Man High School, Sammy Stepp played football, baseball and competed in wrestling.

He was captain of the football team.

After high school, he went to work for Island Creek Coal Company.

Sammy coached peanut football and baseball for approximately 10 years. His teams won several championships.

Sammy and his family moved to Big Stone Gap, Va.

His sons, Nick and Jake, graduated from Powell Valley High School in Big Stone Gap.

His sons had much success in football as Sammy watched them win three state championships in football.

These young men also were active members of their high school baseball team which won a state championship.

His son, Nick, traveled and competed in national competition throughout the United States.

Throughout this time in Virginia, Sammy coached peanut football and baseball in Big Stone Gap. He has coached several Division I football players and one NFL player.

After retiring from the coal business in 2002, Sammy moved to Alabama where he is part-owner in two businesses. He enjoys both his work and family, his sons and daughter-in-laws who have blessed him with four wonderful grandchildren.

Norman Noel

As a 1978 graduate of Man High School, Norman played four sports — football, basketball, baseball and wrestling.

He received an all-state selection for baseball and football in his senior year. The Billies were Class AA state football runner-up in his senior year.

After graduation Norman attended Concord College on a football scholarship as a member of the Mountain Lion football team, where he played on special teams and was a backup center. Concord played in the NAIA playoffs during his freshman year. While at Concord, he was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity.

After college Norman returned home and joined his family business, the Man Pic Pac, where he worked many positions and is now a managing partner.

He married Danita McCormick Noel in 1981 and have two sons — Sean and Shane.

Sean and his wife Misty have given them three wonderful grandchildren — Laya, Logan and Connor.

Norman has been actively involved in Triadelphia area youth sports, coaching Little League baseball, midget league football and grade school basketball. He has been a member of the Big Green and Blue organizations for both Man Junior High School and MHS. He continues to support and sponsor school teams and youth leagues.

When not working, Norman enjoys several hobbies and pending time with family, golfing, fishing, hunting, and especially bicycling are a large part of his life.

Julia Doss Fleming

As a 1980 graduate of Man High School, Julia Doss Fleming excelled in basketball and tennis. She was an Honor Graduate, as well as a recipient of the Best All-Around Student of the 1980 graduating class.

In 1981, Julia received MSA National All-Star team honors as a pitcher and first baseman and was honored as the West Virginia Social Worker of the year in 1997.

Julia attended Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi on a basketball scholarship where she played basketball and softball for the Lady Battlers.

After two years she transferred to Marshall University and earned a degree in Physical Education and Health.

In 1986 Julia returned to Logan County and began her teaching career. She coached the Man Junior High School girls basketball team. In 1988, Julia began coaching basketball and softball at Man High School.

In 1993 Julia left teaching and began working with at-risk youth and families and took a job with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

She worked in Wyoming County for 11 years.

Julia returned to teaching in 2007 at Man Elementary and Man Middle School and spent several years as assistant girls basketball coach for the Lady Billies and is currently the head softball coach at Man Middle School.

She also is a coach of the MMS Archery team that is sponsored by the DNR and Archery in the Schools programs. Each year MMS teams have qualified and participated in the state tournament.

Julia is married to Dana Mark Fleming and resides at Mineral City with her wonderful husband and four dogs. She and Mark enjoy gardening and riding their motorcycles in their spare time.

John F. Vance

John Vance graduated from Man High School in 1982 as a three-year letterman for the “Blue Funk” Hillbillies.

His honors include All-State Second-Team defensive tackle as a junior and All-State First Team as an offensive tackle as a senior.

He was co-captain of the Billies as a senior, participated in the Kiwanis Senior Bowl and also was a member of the Centurion Prep All-American football team.

John is the son of Ronald “Nig” Vance and the late Jeanette Vance of Davin.

After high school John was employed by and eventually took ownership of his family’s business, Statewide Roofing Service, and has been serving the needs of the Triadelphia community for the past 19 years.

John has also been very active in Triadelphia youth sports associations by coaching several teams and serving as the President of the Man Youth Buddy Basketball League for six years.

He has been a staunch supporter of the Man Quarterback Club as well as all Man High School Athletics.

John has been married to Kimberly Aldridge Vance for 28 years. They have three children — Zachery, who is in the medical program at WVU, Malorie, who attends Southern Community College, and 13 year-old Nicholas.