Mayor Danny Jones, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) officials last Thursday announced the beginning of the 100th WVSSAC boys basketball tournament.
The tournament annually welcomes more than 68,000 people to Charleston, yielding an estimated $7.5 million economic impact on the city.
“The WVSSAC and the City of Charleston have a long and successful history of hosting events that produce lifelong memories for generations of high school athletes from throughout West Virginia,” said Charleston Mayor Danny Jones. “As we celebrate the 100th state high school basketball tournament this year, WVSSAC's partnership with our city is stronger than ever.
“I look forward to working with Gary Ray and the entire WVSSAC staff to make this a memorable tournament for players, coaches, families and fans.”
The first boys tournament was played in Buckhannon. Since then, the tournament format has evolved in many ways.
From 1915-1929, any team could compete for the state title. As years progressed, the tournament was divided by sections, regions and classes. In 1930 the state was divided into 18 sections to determine which teams should advance, and in 1933 the state was further divided into regions and additional sections. Currently, there are three class alignments which dictate the teams that go on to compete in the finals.
“This milestone brings a proud heritage to Charleston and the state,” said CVB President/CEO Alisa Bailey. “With such luminaries as Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley, this tournament is sure to bring back many proud memories to West Virginians who participated either as athletes or spectators.”
To commemorate 100 years of the tournament, a public banquet will be held on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charleston Civic Center.
Event organizers plan to help banquet attendees relive many special moments from past tournaments. A select group of instrumental players and coaches will talk about their memories over the years.
“We hope our many fans and those that actually participated in the tournaments come back this year to help us celebrate a very special time in the history of our organization,” said WVSSAC Executive Director Gary Ray.
Boys basketball games run from March 13-16 in the Charleston Civic Center. A full tournament schedule can be found at www.charlestonwv.com.
According to Bailey, Charleston is host to six WVSSAC tournaments resulting in a $13.5 million economic impact on the city.
For more information, visit www.charlestonwv.com.