By CHARLIE BOOTHE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Local delegates may not agree on every issue during this session of the West Virginia Legislature, but they are on board with a resolution to honor the legendary Northfork High School Blue Demons.
That honor will include renaming a Rt. 52 bridge that crosses the Elkhorn River in the town to the Blue Demon Bridge.
Del. Ed Evans (D-McDowell County) said he is a co-sponsor of the resolution, along with Del. John Shott (R-Mercer), and the primary sponsor is Del. Marty Gearheart (R-Mercer).
“The resolution was passed out of the House last week and I’m sure it will get through the Senate,” Evans said. “The bridge that crosses the Elkhorn River in town will honor both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.”
The Blue Demons boys basketball team holds a national record of eight consecutive state titles, he said, which no other high school team in the country has been able to match.
That was under legendary coach Jennings Boyd, who left after the 1981 season.
Those titles came in succession from 1974 to 1981. The team won 10 state championships in 14 years.
Not only that, the girls basketball team, the “Demonettes,” won state titles in 1977 and 1979, and the Blue Demon football 1973 team completed a perfect 12-0 season.
The resolution says:
“Although Northfork High School has been closed for over thirty years, the memories are just as vivid today as when they were being made decades ago for all who attended this legendary school, forever holding a place in the hearts of former students and teachers … this school, as well, will always be remembered by all who saw the Blue Demons play, or heard of their exploits, as the source of the nickname for the town that is still known today as “the basketball capital of the United States…”
“This resolution is very nice,” Evans said, adding that a date to dedicate the bridge and place signs on each side will be set later.
Legislators are very busy right now, he said, trying to wrap up the budget and move other bills along to finish by the April 8 closing of this year’s session.
Evans said he is still pushing for a pay raise for teachers, which had been included in one package but the raise was pulled in the finance committee.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with it,” he said. “I understand there is another bill with another raise in it. I’m still optimistic we will get something through.”
Evans said a proposed budget from the finance committee may be available today as legislators on the finance committee, like Gearheart, were working through the weekend to finalize it.
“I do expect to see it soon,” he said. “They are under pressure to get it done.”
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