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In Memory of
George Delano Ritchie
November 15, 1938 - December 19, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011, at 11:00
First Presbyterian Church of Williamson, WV

Coach George Ritchie

Educator and Coach
Williamson High School
Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia

George Delano Ritchie, 73, died at his home, December 19, 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer. Mr. Ritchie was born November 15, 1938 in Chattaroy, WV to Elizabeth and Alex Ritchie. George graduated from Chattaroy High School in 1956. A talented student and athlete, he attended Wake Forest College, where he played ACC basketball as a Demon Deacon and earned a Bachelor of Science in 1960. Later he earned a Master in Education from Eastern Carolina University. George went on to dedicate 30 years to educating and coaching young people in the Mingo County school system. During this time, he taught history and physical education, coached the Williamson High School basketball team from 1961-1977, and served for 11 years as principal of Williamson Junior High. George was known for his dedication to his job and his students. Mentoring students and fostering a supportive, caring community were his life's work. This dedication to community was also reflected in his role as an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Williamson and his memberships in the O'Brien Lodge 101 AFAM, the Scottish Rite of Charleston, the Shrine Club Beni Kedem of Charleston, and the Tug Valley Shrine Club of Williamson. George is preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth and Alex Ritchie. He is survived, and will be greatly missed, by: his children, Glenn (Keith) Wilcox and Laurie Wood; his grandchildren, Walker George Wood, Elizabeth Allston Wilcox, and Alec Claymon Wilcox; his siblings, Fay Farley, June (Bill) Whitt, Timmie Maynard, Alvin(Nancy) Ritchie, Cleo(Joe) Bradford, and Willa Booten; and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2011, at 11:00 in First Presbyterian Church of Williamson, WV. Please sign the online guestbook at In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Williamson, 29 West 6th Avenue, Williamson, WV 25661.

Williamson Daily News

WILLIAMSON, WEST VIRGINIA~~ George Ritchie was a legendary Williamson basketball coach and now his name will live on as the court at the historic Fieldhouse has been named in his honor.
The actual designation was made about five years ago, according to Park Board Director Brandon Ball.
Recently the hardwood was buffed and re-coated with a clear finish by Sean Cool and Rob Channel. Before that was done, Michael Stafford put down a stencil reading The George Ritchie Court in cursive, and now the court will hold that distinction.
Ritchie grew up in nearby Chattaroy Hollow where he was a basketball star for the Chattaroy High School Yellowjackets back in the mid-1950s. During his senior season he helped lead his team to the Class B state finals.
Ritchie accepted a basketball scholarship to Wake Forest University in North Carolina and became a starting guard for the Demon Deacons. Once he graduated from college, he returned to the Tug Valley area where he was named the new coach for the Williamson Wolfpack.
Ritchie guided the Wolfpack to the Class AA state championship in 1964 and to the Class AAA runner~up in 1965. He had several great teams during the 1960s and 1970s and many were ranked No. 1 in the state of West Virginia, one of the finest eras in the annals of Williamson High School sports.
Ball said he is glad the Park Board was finally able to officially designate the basketball court at the Williamson Fieldhouse in honor of Ritchie.
Several years ago, the Williamson Board of Parks and Recreation (WBPR) made a decision to honor Williamson High Schools winningest basketball coach, George Ritchie, naming the playing surface The George Ritchie Court. Because floor refinishing and opportunity to emblazon his signature into the floor only happens every 10 years or so, the board is elated to finally make this a reality, said Dr. Steve Wilson, a member of the Park Board.
We are deeply appreciative of the kind sponsorship from The First National Bank of Commerce which made this possible. We plan to honor Coach Ritchie with a dedication in the near future, perhaps during the shootout planned in January 2017, said Wilson.
Ball and the Williamson Park Board encourage former graduates and others in the community to stop by and check out the work done on the court.
This is a good way to honor a great coach and a community leader, Ball said.
Although Williamson High School has been consolidated, the local Fieldhouse is still used by the Williamson Buddy League, ACA, a private Christian school in Williamson, some high school games and some middle school tournaments.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)