Gainer earned 11 letters at EHS

Editor’s note: The following is the fifth in a series of profiles of individuals and teams that will be inducted into the Randolph County Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday at Gandy Dancer Theatre.

John Gainer earned 11 letters in three years at Elkins High School, competing in football, basketball, baseball and track.

Named to the second team All-Big Ten team as defensive back in 1972 and 1973, he captained the football team in his senior year. Scoring nine career touchdowns, Gainer was selected to the honorable mention All-State team in 1973.

As captain of the 1973-74 basketball team, Gainer earned a spot on the sectional all-tournament team. He handed out 12 assists in one game against Washington Irving High School, finishing his career with 553 points.

A member of the Babe Ruth baseball team that finished as runner-up in the state tournament, Gainer was named to the All-Tournament team. In 1974, he received the American Legion Louisville Slugger batting championship certificate for his .358 batting average. He earned first team Big 10 All-Conference honors in his junior and senior years and captained the 1974 squad.

The high-point scorer at the Morgantown Invitational track meet, he placed first in the long jump, 180 low hurdles and shuttle hurdles. In 1974, he captured Big 10 titles in the long jump, team shuttle hurdles, and 180-yard low hurdles. He placed first in shuttle hurdles, second in 180-yard low hurdles, and third in long jump at the regional meet.

Gainer continued his baseball career with a scholarship to Salem College, where he received the Floyd Giebell Award as Freshman Athlete of the Year. He won the Coach Clem Clower Award for outstanding achievement in baseball as a senior after being listed on the All-WVIAC and All-NAIA Area VII squads. He batted .421 in his senior season and .358 in his Salem career, earning honorable mention on the NAIA All-American team. He also competed in two semi-pro Amateur World Series in Kansas City and played with the Central West Virginia Semi-Pros.

In 1983-84 he coached wrestling at Elkins Junior High School, leading the team to the school’s first winning record in that sport.