ARTIE – An incredible collection of sports memorabilia has come together in Raleigh County and some big names are there to see it.
“It's real nice, it's great, should be great for this community,” says one local.
A long labor of love for a legendary coach is finally complete.
“Oh, he's put a heckuva bunch of work, and we've seen him here lately,” says St. Albans native James Callihan.
Tex Williams of Artie has created the holy grail of mountaineer sports memorabilia.
“It's just a great honor to be here, honoring Tex and people of this area,” says Alex “Tiny” Parsons of Charleston who played ball all over the Kanawha Valley in his prime.
More than 40,000 items are housed in the Artie museum, putting more than four decades of coaching on display.
“I feel this is a way I can extend out and pay tribute to all the kids,” says Williams, “Every kid I’ve ever coached for 40 years is in that building!” he says with a smile on his face.
Williams unveils his hard work Monday but he does so with a heavy heart. His mother, who he was looking forward to showing the finished product, died less than two months ago.
“I guess she knows about it,” Williams says. Surely Ms. Williams is looking down with the greatest view of anyone.
Williams’ mom worked in the building housing the museum for 43 years as the post master of Artie.
Now it’s filled it with a countless number of pictures and sports memorabilia in her honor.
It brought sports legends as big as Jerry West who couldn't stay away on opening day.
“You were the greatest coach and the greatest teacher in terms of how to live a life,” says West, “The incredible thought that you've had here and to make it into something in Artie, West Virginia.” West adds behind a grin, “This is not like basketball's Hall of Fame!”
Despite the day behind all about Tex, he couldn’t help but be grateful for everyone else,
“What does that mean to you? My gosh. That's life. I’ve had a good life,” he says.
Tex has poured his heart and soul into this project. Something that will live on long after he's gone.
“No matter what happens with me in the future I really feel blessed.”