D&E hosts sports author Bob Barnett

Marshall University professor emeritus and author Bob Barnett will discuss and sign his book, “Hillside Fields: A History of Sports In West Virginia,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Davis & Elkins College.

Barnett’s talk will focus on the Cam Henderson era at D&E, and the history of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The lecture and book signing, both open to the public, will take place in The McDonnell Center Butler Lobby.

“Hillside Fields,” published by West Virginia University Press in May, provides a broad view of the development of sports in West Virginia, from the first girls basketball championship in 1919 to post Title IX; from racially segregated sports to integrated teams; and from the days when West Virginia Wesleyan and Davis & Elkins triumphed in football to the championship teams at WVU, Marshall, West Virginia State and West Liberty.

“I tried to cover all of the major athletes and events like Jerry West and Mary Lou Retton,” Barnett says. “But because West Virginia is a state of small cities, small towns and even smaller villages, many of the local legends are not widely known and in danger of fading from memory.

“I tried to capture as many of those as possible in ‘Hillside Fields’ because they are what help define the character of West Virginia.”

“Hillside Fields” explains how major national trends and events, as well as West Virginia’s economic and political conditions, influenced the development of sports in the state.

Barnett graduated from Marshall University in 1965 and returned to Marshall to teach in 1972 after earning a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He taught sport history classes in the Division of Exercise Science for 35 years.

More than 300 of his articles have been published in The Saturday Evening Post, American National Biography, The Washington Post, Sports Heritage and Dallas Cowboy News. He was a section editor for the “Journal of Sport History” and the “Encyclopedia of Appalachia,” and has written two documentaries for West Virginia Public Television.

Barnett’s first book, “Growing Up in the Last Small Town: A West Virginia Memoir,” is about coming of age in the tiny northern panhandle town of Newell in the 1950s. He and his wife, Lysbeth, have two children and six grandchildren. The Barnetts are West Virginia natives and divide their time between homes in Huntington and Sarasota, Fla.

For more information, please visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.