People are celebrating the man credited for making Beckley the City of Champions and bringing several state high school basketball titles to Southern West Virginia’s largest city.
Coach Dave Barksdale said he’s thankful for the experiences his near 50-year long career in coaching has brought him. Monday night the Beckley Community thanked him for his lasting effect he’s had on the community both as a coach and philanthropist.
“It’s a real honor, every fall my wife and I enjoy seeing when they put it out, who the Spirit of Beckley winner is and every time it comes out we invariably say ‘boy, what a good choice’ but for me to be put in that company, it’s just a real honor,” Barksdale said.
Coach Barksdale was given the Spirit of Beckley Community Service Award. It just so happens he’s receiving this award in the same building where he coached a team through 56 straight wins. But it’s not just the winning record that makes him proud. It’s the countless lives he’s touched along the way.
“I’ve tried to do my best to help coach, do a good job, have camps and do a good job, run the summer league and do a good job so hopefully I’ve been able to help kids,” Barksdale said. “I’m a teacher, they call me coach and I enjoy coaching but more than anything else, I’m a teacher of basketball.”
The Spirit of Beckley is given to someone who has spent their life giving back to the community and helping others. It’s for that reason the Y.M.C.A. believes Barksdale is so deserving of the award.
“His contributions to his community are so many,” YMCA of Southern West Virginia CEO Jay Rist said. “Not just from his coaching accolades and the teams he led to championships but also to what he did for all his athletes, student athletes and students he came into contact with.”
Monday night’s event also celebrates a month long fundraiser for the YMCA’s youth programs. Roughly $110,000 were raised to help benefit more than 3,000 children in Southern West Virginia