West Virginia Black Walnut Festival

Spencer, West Virginia

October 12th-15th, 2017

BWF Book Signing Features Spencer's History

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (September 24, 2013)
Huntington author to sign new book on the history of sports in West Virginia at the Black Walnut Festival  


Huntington author, Bob Barnett, will sign his new book, Hillside Fields: A History of Sports In West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2013) at the Black Walnut Festival in Spencer on Friday, October 11 from 11 to 3. Barnett will be located in front of the Courthouse.  


Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia has the Spencer girls’ state basketball story at the beginning of the chapter on the history of girl’s and women’s’ sports in West Virginia. The Spencer tournament founded in 1919 was one of the three first girls’ state basketball tournaments started in the United States that season. Barnett and Spencer historian Steven Cooper will also sign copies of their co-authored Goldenseal magazine story about the Spencer girls’ tournament.


Hillside Fields provides a broad view of the development of sports in West Virginia. Of course the stories about Jerry West and Mary Lou Retton, and “We are…Marshall” are familiar to everyone. But the little known stories of the development of sports from the first golf club in America at Oakhurst Links to the Greenbrier Classic; from the first girls’ basketball championship in 1919 to post-Title IX; from racially segregated sports to integrated teams; and from the days when West Virginia Wesleyan and Davis & Elkins beat the big boys in football, help to define the uniqueness of being a West Virginian. Hillside Fields explains how major national trends and events, as well as West Virginia’s economic and political conditions, influenced the development of sports in the state.
Roane and Gilmer County athletes, coaches, and teams appear throughout the book. Normantown’s state championship basketball championship victory over Logan in 1945 and the major role of Glenville State College (now University) in the founding of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament are both featured.


 “I tried to cover all of the major athletes and events like Jerry West and Mary Lou Retton,” said Barnett. “But because West Virginia is a state of small cities, small towns, and even smaller villages may of the local legends are not widely known and in danger of fading from memory. I tried to capture as many of those as possible in Hillside Fields because they are what help define the character of West Virginia.”
Barnett graduated from Marshall University in 1965 and returned to Marshall to teach in 1972 after earning a PhD from Ohio State University. He taught sport history classes in the Division of Exercise Science for 35 years.

Barnett’s first book Growing Up in the Last Small Town: A West Virginia Memoir is about coming of age in the tiny northern panhandle town of Newell, West Virginia in the 1950’s. He and his wife, Lysbeth, have two children and six grandchildren. They now divide their time between homes in Huntington and Sarasota, Fla.

For more information, contact the author:
304-523-3901     Huntington, WV

304-633-6048    Cell phone
Or by e-mail at barnettink@aol.com