PAINTSVILLE — For this guest article I have decided to write about my father and grandfather’s high school basketball careers. I’ve thought and thought about how I would write this story and have gone through several drafts of it. It is very hard to write about people close to you, and I hope that the telling of this story will tell a story of my family’s journey with basketball and I hope that it will get more people involved with their own family history and learn stories from their family’s past.
My grandfather, Bob VanHoose, was a great man. From my first memories I can always recall my “Pap” being involved in my life. Until I was six years old I grew up in an area of Johnson County called Hager Hill, along the banks of Jennie’s Creek, and my grandparents lived two houses away from me. I can remember playing in the large yards with my Pap, him pitching a ball to me and chasing the ball after I hit it past him. He also used to let me ride on his riding lawnmower with him as he would mow and would pretty much play any game that I had in mind. As I grew older, we stayed very close. He was at every basketball game I played while I was at Paintsville cheering me and the team on, while his son, my father, sat on the bench as an assistant coach for Coach Bill Mike Runyon. When I went to Marshall University he became a season ticket holder and I can still remember looking up in the stands to see him, my grandmother, and the rest of my family before we would start our games at the Cam Henderson Center.
On Jan. 15, 2000, my sophomore year at Marshall, I was preparing for a shootaround at the Henderson Center in preparation for a game against Eastern Michigan University later that evening. In the opening minutes of the practice, Coach Greg White called me up to his office under the guise that a reporter from Sports Illustrated was in town to do a story about the team. When I walked into his office I saw my parents. My dad had been crying, and I knew that something was terribly wrong. The only thing I really remember hearing my dad say was: “Pap died last night.” It was a heartbreaking moment for me and I do remember taking off running from the office and back down into the gym, I guess just trying to run from the pain.