Chuck Hayes is about as much of a fixture in Bearcat Gymnasium as are basketballs or volleyballs.
A statistician for the school’s basketball and volleyball programs, among others, Hayes was surprised last spring when the Chuck Hayes Senior Boys Hoops Showcase was announced.
“Chuck is a very deserving man who has given so much to the Booneville athletic department,” Booneville head boys basketball coach Ronnie Denton and creator of the showcase said last week. “He has been statistician for over 30 years and I want to recognize him and thank him for everything he has done.
“There is no one around the school district who is more deserving.”
“It was a special honor to have the showcase named after me and I feel completely and totally blessed,” Hayes said.
Joining in the festivities for the day were a big portion of Hayes’ family who were able to come to the event, but that also had a bit of a surprise.
“I knew my sisters and their families from close in were coming, and the scheduling worked out that my sister and her husband from La Porte, Texas were able to come,” said Hayes. “My nephew Tanner Armstrong had been serving in Afghanistan and was home on leave. It worked out that he and his young son were able to attend as well. His stateside home is also in Texas.
“The surprise was that my niece and her family from Brandon, Miss., were able to come up and share the night with me. In all, I had 21 members of my family, ranging in age from 1 to 86, who came for the event.”
The showcase consisted of five games at the school’s gymnasium on Saturday, Dec. 15 and featured Booneville, of course, who beat Gentry in the finale, 69-56; as well as Acorn over Fort Smith Future School, 76-71; Mena over Shiloh Christian, 55-51; Subiaco over Farmington, 41-39; and Jacksonville Lighthouse over Parkers Chapel, 60-43.
“There were lead changes in the final minutes of the first three games,” Denton said. “We got to watch some good basketball.”
Hayes, who also covers basketball, volleyball and other sports for the Democrat, was, predictably, mike-side for all five games.
Denton said he would like the showcase to become an annual event but that will depend upon retaining or acquiring sponsorship. Beacon Ink Fan Gear sponsored the inaugural tournament.
If the event does continue, Denton said, most of the schools involved expressed an interest in returning to Booneville depending upon, of course, who they may be paired against.
Denton wouldn’t mind seeing the showcase grow to a sixth game, but no more.
Hayes wouldn’t either.