Where Are You Now? Mike Roscoe
If one could go back in time, it seems most would want to return to their childhood days. Many say they would do everything all over again, while others would make drastic changes. One special guy, and great athlete from Hundred in Wetzel County has a lot to say about his former days in the small community he called home.
During the mid-1960’s Hundred High School had one of the area’s most talented athletes, a four sport star named Mike Roscoe. If you ever played against him you would remember that name. Many still recall him as not only a great athlete, but as a great coach.
Mike grew up in Hundred, the son of Alex J. and Kathryn Roscoe. His father played football for West Liberty for four years as a starting tackle, his mother played basketball at Hundred High School. Mike said he came from a pretty athletic family and his mother’s desire was for him to play sports to keep him out of trouble. Anyway, he followed her advice and the rest became history.
“I went to Hundred Grade School and played grade school basketball and also played pick up games of football with some of the high school boys. I played little league baseball, and I started playing football in seventh grade. There was an open field behind my house, and my neighbor, Tommy Virgin, lived directly behind me. We played one-on-one football in that field, with him teaching me everything he knew about the game,” said Mike.
In high school he played four years of football, basketball, baseball and ran track for two years. He received 14 letters with two coming in track. Mike was known around town as a hard working dedicated athlete, who trained daily by running the hills of hundred with weights around his ankles. At one point in time, his father owned a grocery store in downtown Hundred. The men who worked for him bought free weights for him to train, and he worked out in his garage with those weights and doing isometrics.
Mike said, “It didn’t take long for a country boy, running those rugged hills and the steps leading from downtown to the upper neighborhood, to get in shape.”
“They say you can’t go home again, but I go there all the time in my mind. I stop at the old Bank of Hundred, at the corner of route 250 and Pennsylvania Avenue, and say hello to my mother who worked there for 17 years. Then, I walk across the street to the Western Auto and talk to Tim Ashcraft, the owner, before heading over to Oneacre’s Drug Store to get a lemon coke… the best! Getting a haircut at Lester’s Barber Shoppe was routine for me, along with having a cubed steak sandwich at Larry’s Restaurant before many games on Friday night. Oh! Those Friday night-lights at the football field…I remember like it was yesterday,” Roscoe stated.
Mike said growing up in Hundred was special. Although the town was small, he recalled the hearts of those who lived there were as big and deep as those West Virginia Hills that surrounded them. The people were kind and loving, and everyone looked out for everyone else’s kids. “I attended Harmony Baptist Church in Burton. I loved that church and everyone who attended there, especially Freda Hunt, who would make you sit up and pay attention, as she plunked loudly away on the organ keys. It was safe, familiar, and I loved it… that’s why, after college, I returned to my hometown to teach and coach and raise my kids.”
Mikes coach during his high school athletic career was George Johnson, who Mike said taught him more than just how to play ball. “He helped me at learning life skills, as well. He was like a father to me, since I had lost my own father at the age of 13. I owe a debt of gratitude to George for everything he did to shape and mold me into a good player, teammate, and man.”
During his senior year, Mike was selected All- State and All Monongalia Valley Teams in football. During his high school years, he was a member of the National Honor Society, Thespians Club, and attended Boys State in 1966, and returned in 1967 as a counselor. During the summers and throughout the year in is spare time, he worked at Hunt’s Funeral Home in order to make extra money. “I learned so much while working there. It was there that I learned communication skills and how to talk to people. I cleaned, dusted, ran errands, drove the ambulance, and assisted with services.”
His senior year in high school, Mike was recruited to play football by Marshall University, Fairmont and Glenville State Colleges. He chose Glenville to play sports. He lettered all four years as a starting flanker and split end. Mike said he loved and played for Coach Bill Hanlin and Earl (Whitey) Adolfson. While there he earned an AB degree in education.
While playing for Glenville State he helped lead the team to victory over Norfolk State in the Shriner’s Fish Bowl in Virginia Beach. In addition, during his senior year they beat their archenemy, Fairmont State, in a close game. “We were behind in the 4th quarter 21-7. We came back and tied 21-21 with 1 minute to go in the game. The coaches called for a fake field goal and I was chosen to catch the pass and we scored, winning 22-21. What a game!!! I was selected lineman of the year and all conference receiver. The year was 1971,”said coach Roscoe.
In the spring of 1971, Mike met with Pat Cosgray, (principal of Hundred High School), and George Johnson, (Wetzel County Board of Education), at the state tournament in Morgantown, to discuss possibly returning to Hundred, following graduation, to teach and coach. He was offered the job and accepted immediately. Cosgray and Johnson explained that it would require a lot of work, and rebuilding would need to be done.
Mike said,” thanks to the Boosters Club we were able to get new equipment, but having enough boys to build a team was a different obstacle to surmount. I decided to go parent to parent and ask for their sons to play football for me. For many, I was only four years older than the kids I coached. The parents agreed, and the kids came out. We were small, but we were mighty. Those kids played their hearts out!! The first year we went 1-8…2nd year 7-2- 1, (the best in school history) and 3rd year, 6-4.” While at Hundred High School, Mike started a wrestling team, taught English and Driver’s Education and also started the first motorcycle safety class in the state of WV. He also attended summer school at WVU, obtaining his masters degree in Safety Administration, which he later put to good use.
Mike left Hundred and went to Paden City as an assistant coach for 4 years, teaching English and Driver’s Education. In 1978 he became the Director of Transportation for Wetzel County Schools a position he held for 10 years. During that time, he oversaw the building of a new bus garage, and became a member of the National Safety Council School Transportation Division, and Director at Large for the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT).
In 1987, he was offered the State Director’s position in Charleston, WV., where he worked for three and a half years before being recruited to Kentucky in the same position. While in WV, he worked to change gasoline-fueled buses to diesel, which was part of an eight year plan to get gasoline buses off the roads. He spent eleven years in Kentucky working in Frankfort at the department of education. During his years there, he served as president of the National Association of Pupil Transportation, President of the Southeastern States Pupil Transportation Conference, and was chairman of the National Safety Council motor/school transportation committee. He received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the National Association of Pupil Transportation, and was named “Administrator of the Year” by School Bus Fleet magazine in the same year. He was elected to the first created position of Affiliate Member Director, which put him back on the board of NAPT until 2011.
In 2002 Mike left working for state government and went into private industry, first working for the C.E. White Company. His job was Director of School Bus Products. While working for them he got to travel the country and parts of Mexico. Mike retired in 2014.
However, as most people with good work ethics and dedication he continues to work part time. He currently works at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky as a supervisor of the Paddock and the Winner’s Circle, while residing in Versailles with his wife. In his spare time he loves refinishing antiques, cooking and spending time with his wife and grandchildren.
In 1970, while at Glenville State College, Mike met his future wife, Linda Felton, who was a graduate from and a cheerleader for GSC. They married in May of 1971, and will celebrate 50 Golden Years of marriage this year. Their life together has produced 3 beautiful girls: Aimee Roscoe (Anthony Colagrosso), Missoula, Montana; Amanda Greenlee, Lexington, KY; Allison Vitali (John), Owensboro, KY; and 6 wonderful grandchildren, who call us Poppi and Gigi: (William and Olivia Greenlee); (Maggie, Luca, Rosie and Nicco Vitali). Life is beautiful!
“They say ‘you can take the boy out of Hundred, but you can’t take Hundred out of the boy’. That is a true statement where this ‘ole boy’ is concerned. I reminisce all the time about the West Virginia Hills, and a sweet little town nestled down in the valley that I call home.”