Community aims to name middle school gymnasium after legendary coach

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MULLENS, WV (WVNS) – A local basketball coach dedicated his life to educating student-athletes both on the court and in the classroom. Now, a group of community members want to remember him in a special way: by posthumously renaming the gymnasium in his honor.

Coach Don Nuckols spent decades as an educator, principal, and basketball coach at Mullens High School from the 1960s through the 1990s, when the school closed and eventually became Mullens Middle School.

“What he did for this school, the players that played for him, this community, on this basketball court … it’s unbelievable,” said former Mullens basketball player, Herbie Brooks. “… And if it weren’t for his health issues, I’m sure he’d have coached for many more years and would have won many more State Championships.”

Coach Nuckols won five State Championships during his
time at Mullens High School.

Coach Nuckols did more than just raise banners in the gym, he raised students in the classroom.

“He said the biggest compliment that he could get, and you could ask anyone that ever knew him, was that he was a good teacher. That was the biggest compliment that he could ever get,” said Nathan England, a former student of Nuckols.

On October 7, 2019, Nathan England, Herbie Brooks, and Rene von Dohlen (Nuckols’ daughter) approached the Wyoming County Board of Education at a meeting. They asked to start a project to name the Basketball Court at what is now Mullens Middle School, after Coach Don Nuckols. They even had a petition with more than 1,500 signatures. The Board chose not to vote on the proposal and it was dismissed.

“For there to be a vote, there actually has to be a motion placed, by a Board Member, on the floor, so to speak. There was no motion made,” said Deirdre Cline, the Superintendent of Wyoming County Schools.

England mentioned during the Board meeting this project would be of no cost to the school and supplies would be donated to make this happen, but the board had more concerns than just finances.

“In order to do it right and well, and consistently, you would probably end up getting multiple requests to name multiple facilities or situations after iconic individuals,” Cline said. “If you do that right and well and fair, it’s a process that would take time and resources away from service to children.”

Cline also added the Board’s decision had nothing to do with Coach Don Nuckols and his accomplishments. It had more to do with the future service to children, and the fact that they thought these resources would be better utilized in other ways.

Ultimately, the Board made no motion to vote on this matter, but that does not mean England and the rest of the community in favor of this issue cannot go back to the Board and present the argument again. Cline said they are welcome to do that, and if it receives even one motion from the five Board Members, it will then go to a vote.

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