CHAPMANVILLE – The resignation of Logan High School basketball coach Mark Hatcher a few months ago caused a chain reaction and a coaching carousel in southern West Virginia.
Hatcher was replaced at Logan by his father, Allan Hatcher, who came over from Chapmanville Regional High School.
Mingo Central High School basketball coach Brad Napier, a Harts native, resigned his post with the Miners and replaced Allan Hatcher at Chapmanville.
Napier was then replaced at Mingo Central by longtime Tug Valley High School basketball coach Garland Thompson.
Tug Valley then got its own coach as Edwyn May replaced Thompson.
The carousel seemed to have stopped.
But it didn’t.
Chapmanville’s 6-foot-8 center Ben Eke, a Nigerian National, left the CRHS program and went with Hatcher to Logan in a move that was widely speculated.
Then last week, the final piece to the puzzle appeared to go down as Mingo Central’s 6-6 forward Montrell Dixson left the Miners and went with Napier to Chapmanville Regional, where he reportedly enrolled last week.
The transfer of Dixson to CRHS has created a stir in the Coalfields.
According to the WVSSAC it is against the rules for a student athlete to transfer to another school solely because of athletic purposes.
“Notwithstanding any other provisions of WVSSAC rules and regulations, if a student transfers for athletic reasons, the student will be ineligible for 365 days from the date of enrollment,” the SSAC rule states.
Napier was asked point blank if Dixson was recruited to Chapmanville just to play basketball and help the Tigers win games this season.
The transfer of student athletes from school to school has been a hot button issue over the years, not only locally, but also statewide and in the nation in general.
Some are calling this a clear case of recruiting, which violates WVSSAC rules.
“I don’t think those people know what they are talking about,” Napier told The Logan Banner late last week. “Everyone has their own opinion and everyone has their own right to that. It is what it is. If he’s here and they say that he’s eligible to play he’ll have every opportunity to play just like every other kid.”
It’s not just Logan County or the southern Coalfields.
Athletes have transferred from school to school all across the state for decades and the WVSSAC has either been unwilling or unable to enforce its own rules, pundits and critics of the organization have long said.
“Kids transfer to different schools every day,” Napier said. “You look at last year’s Chapmanville team they had Josh Butcher (who came from Riverside High School in 2013). It’s not only Chapmanville, it’s every school in the state that gets transfers and loses transfers. That’s just part of today’s world. It’s not only sports related it’s academics and things like not getting along with a girl friend. There’s a lot of different reasons that kids transfer. It’s not just always about sports.”
Dixson, who hails from the Chicago area and also played high school basketball in Kentucky, played the last two seasons at Mingo Central alongside his cousin Dikembe Dixson and helped lead the Miners to the 2015 state tournament where MCHS lost in the first round of the Class AA tourney to Fairmont Senior.
Montrell Dixson averaged 14.3 points a game last year for the Miners and was the team’s leading rebounder. He was named to the Second-Team All-Cardinal Conference Team at season’s end.
Napier said Dixson enrolled at Chapmanville last week when school began.
“He enrolled last Monday but he hasn’t been able to come to school because I think that he hasn’t gotten the shots that he needs,” Napier said. “I think they sent like 60 kids home the first day and he was one of the ones. From what I understand there’s been several kids that have to get shots.”
Dixson’s eligibility to play remains in question.
“I don’t know that. That would have to be up to the office to determine that. I really don’t know to be honest with you,” Napier said.
If eligible to play, there’s no doubt Dixson would be able to help Chapmanville’s basketball team.
The Tigers were 12-9 last season in Hatcher’s last season and were upset 46-43 in a stunning loss to Wayne in the first round of the Class AA sectional tournament at Logan.
Chapmanville finished fourth place in the final Cardinal Conference standings at 8-5.
CRHS lost leading scorer and senior guard Butcher (16 ppg.) to graduation as well as Zac Casto and starting point guard Trey Dalton.
The Tigers, though, return 6-2 sophomore guard Drew Wiliamson, who had an outsanding freshman season for the Tigers, finishing seventh in the conference in scoring at 14.9 points a game.
Several other key CRHS players are back this season as well, including guard Kyle Browning, 6-4 forward Jordan Whitt, 6-5 forward Tyler Moore, 6-7 center Hunter Neil and others.
“Montrell is very versatile,” Napier said. “He basically can play any position on the floor. He’s defensive minded more so than offense. He passes the ball a lot. He only shot about nine shots a game last year for us. He doesn’t shoot a lot and we encouraged him to shoot more last year. He’s just an all-around good player. He can do a lot of different things.”
Chapmanville had been rumored to be getting one, or maybe even two more transfer players.
The question was put to Napier.
“He (Dixson) is the only one,” Napier said.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).