Local basketball fans take heart — the sixth annual Wildcat Classic is Friday and Saturday at Richmond Hill High School.
The event, part social gathering — part fundraiser for good causes and part basketball — will include four games over two nights. Also included are a raffle, 3-point competitions and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 12-and-under.
This year, proceeds from the Classic will go to the Richmond Hill Police Spouses Association, according to Jon Clark, who along with Calvin Fulwood is organizing the event. In years past, the event has managed to fund scholarships and help kids with behavioral problems.
In fact, the desire to give back to the community helped spark the Wildcat Classic, which also serves as a reminder of a time when Richmond Hill High School basketball was a state power under coach Jimmy Hires, who will go into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame later this spring.
The Wildcats won state titles under Hires in 1988, 1993 and 1994. They lost in the 1989 state finals and lost in triple overtime in the final four in 1990. This long before there was a stoplight at highways 17 and 144, if I recall correctly, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. Suffice it to say, Richmond Hill was small in population but big in basketball back in those days.
Clark was a member of the 1988-1990 teams, which also included standouts such as Bernard King, who played at the University of Georgia. Another standout from the Wildcats’ state championship era was Kevin “Cowboy Clark, who went on to Minnesota.
Fulwood played collegiately at Valdosta State while another member of those teams, Phillip Clark played at Armstrong Atlantic State.
Other guys from the Hires-era expected to participate in the Classic include Bradley Odom, Heath Meguair, Robbie Ward, Gary Wise, Tyrone Burke, Clinton Hill, Steve Rushing, Roger Hazlewood, Ryan Bowles, Mark Davis, Kwame Jackson and Theodore Scriven. Also, former players Willie Blige, Dorian Hollis, Igor Kuljanin and Trey Sullivan will be there.
Now for some back story.
Jon Clark made the call to the News on Monday to get some publicity circulated about the event. And just so you know, any mistakes are more than likely mine, not his.
Clark said people can call him or Fulwood if they have questions, and their phone numbers are listed below.
But first, Clark said the above-listed players are the “core group” of players who’ve been involved in the Classic over the years, but others might participate. What’s more, all players from the 1970s and ‘80s of Wildcat basketball are welcome to come lace up the sneakers and participate in an event that began like so many good things do — old friends getting together and trying to stay connected.
“Me and Calvin and a lot of the guys were sitting around talking one night, and trying to get everybody from those teams to come back to Richmond Hill and hang out, see what everybody’s been doing,” Clark said. “This thing started as a way to get the guys together, but we also wanted to pay tribute back to coach Hires and to the community of Richmond Hill, which supported us so much.”
Friday’s games begin at 6 p.m. at the East Gym, which is also known as the old Richmond Hill Middle School gym. Saturday’s events start at 4 p.m. and are also at the East Gym. Concessions will be available. For more information, call Jon Clark at 912-755-5014 or call Calvin Fulwood at 451-4181.