MAN — A current and a former Man High School School coach who led the Hillbillies to state championships will be enshrined into the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame this week.
Former Man baseball coach Larry Vance and current girls’ softball coach Randy Epperly will be part of Man’s new six-member class.
Vance led Man to the 2014 Class A state baseball championship and some other state runner-up finishes. It was the first ever state championship for a boys’ team at Man High School. Vance recently resigned his post and is the new baseball coach at Ambassador Christian in Williamson.
Epperly has had a long and fruitful run as Man’s softball coach, leading the Lady Billies to the 2008 and 2009 Class A state titles and runner-up finishes in 2010 and this year.
Also a part of Man’s new Hall of Fame class are Charles Toler, Donald Lafferty, John M. Blevins, Patrick L. Donahue and Bobby Joe Moore.
The new inductees will be honored on Thursday night with the induction banquet, beginning at 6 p.m. with a “Meet and Greet” at the Man High School Fieldhouse. The banquet tickets are $25.
There will also be a Hall of Fame golf outing on Thursday at the Clear Fork Golf Course in Oceana beginning at 9:30 am. Players may contact Bill Cline at 304-583-9742 or Perry Harvey at 304-583-6073. The cost is $75 per player.
The six will also be recognized at Friday night’s Man Hall of Fame Game against Mount View at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field. The inductees and their families may enjoy a hospitality tent located at the East End of the football field. The inductees will be recognized during halftime of the game.
The following are biographical sketches of the new inductees as provided by Man High School:
As a 1969 Man High School graduate, Randy Epperly lettered in baseball for the Hillbillies. He was also the MHS Salutatorian, President of the National Honor Society and an Eagle Boy Scout.
After graduation, Randy attended WVU where he graduated in 1973 with a BA degree in Science and Industrial Management. He worked for Amherst Coal Company for 13 years.
Randy began teaching and coaching in 1989 at Man Junior High School where he was the assistant girls’ basketball coach and the assistant girls softball coach at Man High School.
In 1998, he was named the head boys’ basketball coach at Man Junior and the head softball coach at MHS.
In 1993, Randy graduated from WV State with a teaching degree in Education.
In 2000, his Lady Billies softball team reached the Class AA state tournament and finished third.
The 2008 the Lady Billies’ softball team captured the Class A State Championship. Then in 2009, the Lady Billies repeated as Class A state champs. The following year in 2010, Man was state runners-up.
Under Epperly’s leadership, Man holds the state record of 46 consecutive wins from April 2008 through April 2010.
Continuing his path to success, Randy’s Lady Billies made it to the state tournament in 2015, taking third and in 2016 where Man was the Class A state runner-ups after falling in the finals to Wheeling Central.
Randy’s teams have won seven regional Championships in both Class AA and Single-A and have won 19 consecutive sectional championships in both classes.
The softball program under his tutelage has provided an avenue for several student-athletes at MHS to receive college scholarships and assistance while furthering their education. Randy has also been the Athletic Administrator at Man Middle School since 2007.
Randy has one daughter, Savannah Cline, and three grandchildren — McKinlee, Gavyn, and Taylin, who are active in sports. Randy is there for their games when he has no other coaching conflicts.
Larry D. Vance
As a 1981 graduate of Man High School, Larry David Vance lettered and started in football, basketball and baseball.
His senior year for the Billies, Larry pitched three no-hitters in the final against Logan in the sectional tourney, striking out 17.
After graduation Larry David attended WV State College and was a member of the baseball team from 1981-85. He joined the US Army from 1985-94 and was a staff sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division and the 4th Infantry Division.
Larry became an assistant baseball coach at MHS from 2000-04. He was the head baseball coach from 2005-07, then again from 2009-present.
Larry David’s resume as head coach for the Billies’ baseball team include six state tournament appearances with three runner-up finishes and a Class A state championship in 2014.
He was awarded the WV School Athletic Coaches Association WV Baseball Coach of the Year in 2014.
Larry is the son of Larry and Gwen Vance. Larry and his wife, Karen, reside at Davin and are the proud parents of three children — Justin, Kayla, and Duke Vance.
Donald Lee Lafferty
Donald Lafferty is a 1984 graduate of Man High School where he played baseball and received All-State recognition his senior year.
After graduating, Donald married Debbie Hunt Lafferty in 1986. Donald led the Collection Department at the Bank of Mingo before going into full time ministry. He served 11 years as Assistant/Youth Pastor at Mallory Church of God and Regional Church of God in Delbarton. He now serves as Senior Pastor at the Man Church of God since 2011.
Throughout his life, Donald has 30 years experience in coaching various sports, including Little League Baseball; Cal Ripken Baseball; Midget League Football; assistant football coach at Man High School; MHS head baseball Coach for five years; overseen the renovation/planning of over six baseball facilities in the surrounding counties; and currently is serving as Athletic Director and head baseball coach at Ambassador Christian Academy where his youngest son, Tyler, attends school.
Donald and Debbie reside at Accoville and are the proud parents of three sons — Ryan (Kaeli) Lafferty, Justin (Jen) Lafferty and Tyler Lafferty.
Their first granddaughter was born in 2015, Ms. Annalyn Kate Lafferty.
Bobby Joe Moore
A 1990 graduate from Man High School, Bobby Joe Moore played football and lifted weights for the Hillbillies.
He received most valuable honors while he played football for the Billies several times and was Honorable Mention All-State.
In Power lifting, Bobby garnered 1st place National Teenage Power lifting.
After graduation, Bobby Joe started working in the coal mines as a general laborer. He has worked every job including General Mine Foreman, an EMT, and Section Boss.
He is a volunteer coach for the Danville Panthers, belonged to the Odd fellows, and is learning and loving more and more about gardening. He enjoys camping, four wheeling, hunting, and fishing with his family as well as going to the beach.
Bobby and his wife, Kristi Johnson Moore have lived at Uneeda, W.Va.,for the past 25 years and are the parents of Brandon and Rhiannon, two wonderful children that he is enjoying sports with as they mature. Bobby never forgets his roots because each Sunday and holidays he and his family enjoy Dinners at Gert’s house in Lorado.
Charles Toler was a 1946 graduate of Man High School, where he excelled in football and basketball for the Billies.
After high school he married his high school sweetheart, Charlotte Weir (49 happy years together, she died of cancer in 1995). They had two sons, Charlie and John. Charles was the owner and operator of Toler’s Grocery at Amherstdale.
In the 1950s, Charles and his family moved to Cyclone and started Toler’s Egg Farm as well as Toler’s Grocery. He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Oceana.
In 1979, they moved to Lewisburg and began Toler’s Farm and The Barn Store at Gap Mills and currently own the Corner Market at Ronceverte, W.Va.
In 1997, Charles married Ruby Osborne Toler and currently resides in Lewisburg. Charles has three grandchildren, Tony Toler of Cyclone, Rhonda Toler Harless of Cyclone, and Lee-Ann Hobbs of Organ Cave. He has five great-grandchildren, Micheal Harless and Matthew Harless of Huntington, Kendall Hobbs Level of Lewisburg, Sydney Toler of Cyclone and Levi Hobbs of Organ Cave.
Charles played his last football game for the Hillbillies 70 years ago this year.
John M. Blevins
A 1964 graduate of Man High School, John Blevins played varsity football and track and field. He was captain of the football team, President of the Varsity Club and Key Club, and was a member of the All Southern WV All Star Football Team.
John received an Appointment to West Point USMC from US Representative Ken Heckler (WV) in 1964. While at the Academy, he played intercollegiate football and lacrosse. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1968 and also married Peggy Mars, and they had five children over several years.
While in the US Army, John’s accomplishments include: Army Ranger; Airborne; Company Commander in Germany, Vietnam, and Hawaii; Three Bronze Stars with V Device; Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantry Badge; RVN Cross of Gallantry; Various Campaign Ribbons and Medals; and Promoted to Captain in 1970 by H. Norman Schwarzkopf in Vietnam.
In 1975, John left the military to join Proctor & Gamble in Green Bay, Wis., as a process engineer, was promoted and traveled widely to P&G locations worldwide. In 1980 John returned to Germany where he worked with top scientists and technologists company-wide to create a number of R&D facilities for quick project deliveries and received his first patent-the first P&G Patent in Europe.
In 1980 he returned to Cincinnati just as P&G became a global entity where he helped create the most absorbent Bounty towel, softest and strongest Charmin, and other products. During this time John married Melisse May and became a step-father of two children.
From 1998-2000 John returned to Europe to help roll out the technological improvements made in these paper products. In 2000, he returned to Cincinnati and worked with improving these products until his retirement in 2008.
He now has a consulting firm that provides expert witnessing in patent trials, strategies for small and midsize companies based in Cincinnati with clients in the USA and Europe.
In 2012, John married Anna-Erika Schneider and resides in Cincinnati as well as Hofheimam Taunus, Germany.
Patrick L. Donahue
Pat Donahue was a 1965 graduate of Man High School where he lettered in both football and baseball. He was All County Conference in baseball in 1964 and 1965.
After graduation, Pat left West Virginia to begin a job with the FBI in Washington. In less than a year, he decided to return to his beloved home state. He then enlisted the United States Air Force, where he served for nearly a year, but was administratively discharged due to a family emergency at home.
At home, he worked 40 years in the mining industry as a surveyor both above and below ground. When Pat was not working, he would be coaching his two sons, Patrick and David, and his nephew, John Donahue in baseball and basketball. He was passionate about sports and spent many years coaching football, basketball and baseball, taking pride in coaching and guiding the youth of the Man area.
Pat lived his life to the fullest with his wife, Opal, his children and grandchildren. He loved the outdoors, hunting — which was an essential part of his life-Pat’s success — was highlighted by his record setting bow kill in 2008.
A lifelong resident of the Triadelphia area, he had a genuine love of people, witty humor, devotion to family and community and a commitment to the environment, Pat was instrumental in his efforts with the Huff Creek Watershed to clean up Huff Creek and provide numerous opportunities for today’s youth to have safe, clean water and great fishing experiences on Huff Creek.
Pat’s untimely death in 2014 has left a void in many lives, but his legacy-a commitment to helping the environment has continued.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).