Former Indian athlete & head coach Varnell Burkhart enters BSHS Athletic Hall of Fame

by Jamie Harris

Former Berkeley Springs High School athlete and boys head basketball coach Varnell Burkhart will join the Class of 2018 as the newest Hall of Fame inductee. Burkhart played football, basketball and ran track while in high school as a member of the Tribe athletic programs.

After graduating from BSHS Burkhart attended Shepherd College and earned his degree. In 1961 Burkhart was hired as the new head boys basketball coach and junior high football coach for Berkeley Springs High School.

Burkhart was also hired to teach math and mechanical drawing. Burkhart coached former Tribe basketball great and BSHS Hall of Fame member Mike Johnson who received a basketball scholarship to William & Mary College. Burkhart also coached Hall of Fame member Gary Dodson. In the 1963-64 season Burkhart’s team went 16-5. Both Johnson and Dodson were in the first BSHS Athletic Hall of Fame class. Burkhart’s other connection with the Athletic Hall of Fame is that his high school basketball coach Jim Lopp was inducted into the Class of 2015.

Burkhart left Berkeley Springs High School and Morgan County and eventually had teaching jobs at Leland Junior High School in Montgomery County, South Hagerstown High School, Clear Spring High School and Hancock Middle/High School in Washington County, Md.

Despite not returning to teach at Berkeley Springs High School, Burkhart continued to support the Berkeley Springs High School athletic programs. When his granddaughter Lexi Burkhart was at Berkeley Springs High School, Burkhart was a spectator and volunteer as she participated in cross country, track and basketball. Burkhart also helped coach his granddaughter’s summer league basketball team. Burkhart spent many years volunteering as a timer for the Berkeley Springs High School track teams for home meets.

Burkhart is also an avid basketball fan and has attended the WV Boys High School State Basketball Championships every year since 1993.

Burkhart and the rest of the Class of 2018 will be inducted into the Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame this coming fall. Date and time will be released soon.

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