Athletic icons gather at WV Sports Legends Banquet

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The Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center was packed with sports royalty on Saturday for the 10th annual West Virginia Sports Legends Banquet.

255 prominent athletic figures were honored at the event, including Bluefield High School head football coach, Fred Simon.

“It means everything with the great people out of the state of West Virginia being honored,” Simon explained. “I’m proud to be part of it. It’s a really neat honor.”

During his career, coach Simon has coached in 11 state championship games, winning five of them. However, he gives all of credit to his players and staff.

“You’re only as good as your players and your coaching staff,” he said.

When it comes to West Virginia sports legends, perhaps none are greater than Princeton native, Ron Thorn. He is credited with drafting Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls in 1984, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. But no matter how far he has gone in his career, he will always credit his home state of West Virginia for his accomplishments.

“Growing up in Princeton back in a different time and different era, I just had a wonderful upbringing. I had the right principles from it. My mom and dad were great and very supportive. Certainly, without Princeton and without them, I would not have made it nearly as far as I’ve been able to,” Thorn said.

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