WEIRTON - The accomplishments of its people, especially on the national stage, is a point of pride for the city of Weirton.
Just in time for a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution and focused on hometown teams and athletes, several Weirton businesses and groups have come together to recognize city natives who have reached the pinnacle of their chosen sport.
On Friday, representatives of those groups gathered on the former Jimmy Carey Stadium site in downtown Weirton to announce the project, which will use the goal posts from the former Weir High football stadium to support signs to list the names of Weirton residents who have advanced to the height of professional sports.
Several groups and organizations have come together for a project to pay tribute to Weirton's professional athletes. Standing at the old Jimmy Carey Stadium Friday to make the announcement are, from left, Mike Del Re, Weir High athletic director; Dennis Jones, Weirton Museum president; Tony Filberto, Weir High football coach, Danny Greathouse, Hancock County commissioner; Dan Enich, Weir High principal; Mayor George Kondik, David Harrison, of Sports Radio 1430 WEIR; Brenda Mull, Weirton chamber president; Nick Latousakis, Weirton chamber board chair; and Brian James, general manager of ArcelorMittal-Weirton. -- Craig Howell
Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Mull explained the discussion started several months ago, after a television program noted Weir Avenue as being the street with the highest number of professional athletes in the country.
"We've had so many professional athletes, not just from Weir Avenue, but from all of Weirton," Mull said, noting others have brought up similar ideas in the past though nothing has been done.
With the assistance of ArcelorMittal Weirton and Mayor George Kondik, the goal posts - being donated by the Hancock County Commission - will be moved to the ends of Weir Avenue. Signs in the shape of a football, a baseball and a basketball will be attached, with each listing the names of the athletes.
The chamber is working with the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center to locate names of all the professional athletes from the city.
To date the following are known:
Football: Mike Rodak, Bob Gain, Bob Jeter, Bill Tucker, Tony Jeter, Tom Bloom, Bill West, Leon Jenkins, Kevin Miller, John Canei, Carl Fodor Jr., Quincy Wilson, Gene Trosch and Tony Dorsett Jr.
Basketball: Ron "Fritz" Williams, Bill Thompson
Baseball: Mike "Slim" Naymick, Hal "Doc" Daugherty, Bob Trice, Floyd Geibel, Mary Lou Kolanko.
Space will be available on the signs for the addition of future professional athletes.
The signs currently are planned to be unveiled Aug. 23, in the midst of the "Hometown Teams" exhibit going on display in Weirton. The exhibit, scheduled for Aug. 17 to Sept. 27, is made possible by the Smithsonian and West Virginia Humanities Council.
Museum President Dennis Jones explained the exhibit will include displays on local sports, as well as numerous guest speakers and other activities.
"It's going to be sports heaven in Weirton, West Virginia," Jones said.
Kondik said he is proud the city can contribute toward the project.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)