Gov. Justice hopes for good behavior on Friday as Greenbrier girls host Woodrow again

FAIRLEA, WV (WOAY) – The Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson girls’ basketball teams are expected to have a rematch on Friday for the sectional championship.

The last time these two teams met, an altercation occurred between Woodrow’s assistant coach Gene Nabors and a Greenbrier East fan that escalated into calling the entire game before it was over.

Governor Jim Justice who is also the head coach for the Greenbrier East girls stirred up controversy after referring to Woodrow girls as “thugs.”

On Wednesday, he said he hopes Friday’s game will be all about basketball and hopes it is just a good game. 

“I hope to goodness that everyone can realize we’ve all got to behave and we’ve got to do the right things and that’s from everything from you know, the coaches, the administrators, the fans, the kids, everybody. Everybody just needs to understand there’s no place for all this stuff in high school sports,” Gov. Justice said. 

When asked about more security, he said he hopes it will just be standard.

The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday at Greenbrier East.


GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) –  On Tuesday night, an altercation occurred at the Woodrow Wilson/Greenbrier East girls basketball game during the fourth quarter of a tense game.

A Greenbrier East fan and Woodrow Wilson assistant coach Gene Nabors had an exchange of words that turned heated and then involved the fans and players.

Ben Anderson was there to root for Greenbrier East when he saw it all unfold during the timeout.

“From what I had seen a Greenbrier East parent had been taunting Woodrow Wilson players throughout the night and the assistant coach for Woodrow Wilson came over to this parent and confronted him and basically it was on from there,” Anderson said. “There was a lot of jawing going back and forth and then everything basically erupted.”

The eruption continued to spill over the next day as Greenbrier East Head Coach and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice referred to the Woodrow Wilson players as “a bunch of thugs” in an interview with The Register-Herald.

West Virginia State police issued a release on Thursday stating that Woodrow Wilson assistant coach Eugene Nabors was cited for obstructing an officer. Anderson said this was when the energy shifted in the crowd.

“The crowd became very nervous,” Anderson said. “As soon as they noticed that Woodrow Wilson assistant coach literally shoved a policeman, and when he was brought down to the ground to be arrested, there was a lot of tension in the air and basically the crowd almost went silent.”

Anderson said it took about 15 minutes to sort it all out and the game was called with no winner shortly after.

He said this rivalry match up is usually tense, but this time it was different. Anderson is  worried about the two teams meeting again.

“Yeah, it’s very likely that Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson will play each other in the sectionals, and it’s going to be really tough,” he said. “But the bottom line is, this is a high school girls basketball game for crying out loud. It’s embarrassing that the tension got to this point and that grown adults could act like this.”

The altercation is still under investigation.


UPDATE: CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Gov. Jim Justice has released a statement regarding his choice of words referring to a basketball team as “thugs”.

“My definition of a thug is clear – it means violence, bullying, and disorderly conduct. And we, as West Virginians, should have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. Anyone that would accuse me of making a racial slur is totally absurd.

“I’m extremely proud that my coaches, my team, and myself were not involved in this incident in any way, shape, form, or fashion and I’m truly saddened that the Woodrow kids had to be subjected to this behavior.

“One of the incidents that I referred to resulted in one of the Woodrow Wilson assistant coaches being cited by the State Police for obstruction of an officer.

“I am certain that the WVSSAC will deal with this in a professional and appropriate manner.”


GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Governor Jim Justice is facing some pushback after he referred to a girls basketball team as “a bunch of thugs”.

On Tuesday night, the Greenbrier East Spartans and Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles were playing against each other in Fairlea.

During the fourth quarter, an altercation broke out between a fan and the assistant coach of Woodrow Wilson, Gene Nabors.

Woodrow Wilson Head Coach Brian Nabors, Gene’s older brother, removed his team from the floor, and Governor Jim Justice then asked for a forfeit.

Greenbrier East was leading 46-40 when the game was suspended.

Tyler Jackson, a reporter for The Register-Herald, asked Gov. Justice about the altercation and Justice said, “I hate to say it any other way, but honest to God’s truth is the same thing happened over at Woodrow two different times out of the Woodrow players, they’re a bunch of thugs.  The whole team left the bench; the coach is in a fight; they walked off the floor; they called the game.”

Brian Nabors’ told Jackson after the game, “We only came here to play basketball.”


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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.