September 5, 2012
MASON — Five White Falcons will be inducted into the Wahama High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. at Riverside Golf Course. Guest speaker for the event will be current WHS Hall of Fame member and former professional baseball player, Mel Clark.
The 2012 inductees include former White Falcon coach, Grant Barnette, along with outstanding athletes, Ron Bradley, Brent Clark, Matt Thompson and Charles Yonker. The 2012 inductees will also be recognized at halftime during the Wahama varsity football game against Belpre on Friday, Sept. 14.
This year’s WHS Athletic Hall of Fame class include:
McKinley Grant Barnette
McKinley Grant Barnette graduated from Point Pleasant High School at the young age of 15 and from Morris Harvey College when he was just 19 years old. He played baseball during his junior and senior seasons at Morris Harvey before beginning a career in the West Virginia Education system as a teacher, coach and administrator that would span more than 50 years. A successful part of his coaching experience was in Mason County at Wahama High School. Barnette coached the White Falcons to its first ever state baseball appearance in 1969 in addition to leading the Bend Area cage team to a final four state basketball tournament in 1970, its first and only state basketball berth in school history. His 1974 WHS baseball team set a state record for most games played (55) in a season with Wahama posting a school record 39-16 record that year. He was the Falcon football coach for five years posting a 32-17-1 record which included a win over third ranked Class AAA Ripley in 1967. His coaching career totaled 15 years (five at Wahama) with his teams winning 68 percent of his 320 contests. Grant’s distinguished career was further celebrated in 2010 when he was selected as a member of the Morris Harvey/University of Charleston Hall of Fame.
Ron Bradley graduated from Wahama in 1984 following a rewarding three sport high school athletic career. Bradley played football, basketball and baseball for the White Falcons before going on to play baseball at Concord College. Bradley was a first team All-Little Kanawha Conference basketball selection in 1983-84 and was also an Honorable Mention pick on the All-State basketball team during the 1983-84 season. His senior year Bradley threw for over 840 yards as a quarterback for the WHS grid team while averaging 18.6 points per game during the winter basketball season. He finished off his high school career by hitting over .300 for the WHS baseball team before moving on to the WVIAC as a standout on the diamond for the “Mountain Lions” in college. His 412 points during his senior cage season ranks him among the top 10 scorers in a single season at over the past 40 plus years. Bradley has taught and coached in West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia since his graduation from Concord in 1988 and was voted by the Ashville Citizen as the Western Carolina runner-up Basketball Coach of the Year in 1998.
Brent Clark graduated from Wahama in 1971 after playing baseball, basketball and track at the Bend Area School. Clark was a first team All-Little Kanawha Valley Conference shortstop in 1971 and was President of the Wahama Student Council and class President of his sophomore class. Clark attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975. At West Point Clark lettered three years for the Army baseball team and was the captain of the squad his senior year. Clark compiled a career .302 batting average and led the Cadets in hits, doubles, triples, total bases and RBI’s during his junior and senior seasons. A highlight of his college career was hitting a home run against the New York Mets professional baseball club during an exhibition game in 1973. Clark was a first team selection on the All Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1973 and was a second team pick in 1974 and 1975. He was also an Outstanding College Athlete of America selection in 1975. Clark was an instructor at the Florida Professional Baseball School and was the head baseball coach at Rio Grande College. Clark retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received the Army Commendation Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters.
Matt Thompson graduated from Wahama in 1986 after a successful three sport career in football, baseball and basketball. Thompson was selected as a first team All-State linebacker in 1985 and was named to the Parkersburg News All-Area team. Thompson was an honorable mention pick in baseball in 1985 and basketball in 1986 and was a first team All-State selection in baseball in 1986. He scored 44 points, had 29 receptions for over 500 yards, and had six interceptions and 172 tackles during his football career while scoring 590 points as a WHS cager. Thompson hit a lofty .378 for his career in baseball at Wahama with 80 RBI’s and 34 extra base hits. He compiled a 21-5 pitching record for the White Falcons with a sparkling 1.59 ERA with 150 strikeouts. Thompson served on the Mason County Board of Education from 2002-10 and was the WHS Athletic Director in 2010-11.
Charles Yonker completed an outstanding all-around athletic career at Wahama in 1963, earning 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. In basketball, he was the third highest scorer in the State of West Virginia over two consecutive seasons and achieved membership in the WHS 1,000 point club. In 1963, he was named a West Virginia Sports Great by the state’s Centennial Commission and received a baseball scholarship to Marshall University. During his career at Marshall, he led the “Thundering Herd” in home runs over three years and was selected for second team All-Mid American Conference honors. Upon receiving his BBA degree in 1967, Charlie served in the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant during the Vietnam War where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. Upon completion of his service to his country he embarked on a 35-year career in senior executive positions with private and public companies in the information technology industry.