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Girls basketball: Struggling Flying Eagles not getting Bostick down

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Beckley girls basketball Coach Bernie Bostick is having a rough year on the sideline with his Flying Eagles' record sitting at just 4-8, but he is not letting it get him down.

After all the 10th-year coach has been through a lot worse.

Almost exactly a year ago, Bostick underwent surgery to have his prostate removed after cancer was discovered.

"I knew four guys who all found out about the same time as me and I am the only one still alive," Bostick said. "It makes you realize there are more important things in life than sports."

Not that he has mellowed his approach to coaching much. During a recent two-point loss at Nitro, he was every bit his boisterous self, alternating between screaming encouragement to his players and yelling at them for mistakes.

His cancer was caught early enough and the surgery so successful that, so far, he has not needed any follow-up chemotherapy or radiation treatments, as no sign of the malignancy has returned.

"I still have to go back every three months to be checked," Bostick said. "But so far, so good."

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS quarterback Robert Griffin III will not be able to speak at the Big Atlantic Classic tip-off banquet after all.

Coming off knee surgery two weeks ago, his doctor decided it was simply too risky for the former Heisman Trophy winner to be put on a plane to fly to Beckley to speak Sunday.

"He's doing okay," event organizer Jim Justice said. "But he just had surgery on both knees and is just two weeks into rehab."

With the help of Griffin's surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, Justice was able to line up a pretty good replacement, though. Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton will be stepping in for Griffin Sunday.

"We had to move and we had to move really quick," Justice said.

Newton led Auburn to the 2011 BCS Championship and was top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl after setting a record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 14.

"Of course, RGIII would have been great," Justice said. "Everybody thought he would be able to do it, but (Dr. Andrews) decided it was just too much risk."

Past speakers at the event include Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Terry Bradshaw, Tim Tebow and Shaquille O'Neal. The dinner begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center with Newton scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available for the dinner and program together or for just the program.

*  *  *

CHARLESTON CATHOLIC Coach Paul Sutherland was not on the bench for Tuesday night's home game against Class AAA No. 1 Greenbrier East.

According to a source close to the team, Sutherland has been suspended for two weeks for a minor rule infraction involving practice.

Both Sutherland and Charleston Catholic Athletic Director Bill Gillespie declined to comment and referred all questions to Charleston Catholic Principal Debra Sullivan.

"We take our academics seriously and our athletics seriously," Sullivan said. "I am dealing with a personnel issue right now and I have substituted for (Coach Sutherland)."

She declined to confirm or deny the two-week suspension.

"I would call it a temporary situation," Sullivan said. "I would say two weeks would be the greatest length of time."

Standard procedure for a school would be to report a suspected violation to the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission for review. A school could enforce its own penalty and ask the WVSSAC to accept it or the WVSSAC could reduce or increase the penalty.

Sullivan indicated though that Sutherland is expected to return.

*  *  *

THERE WAS some good news for the Charleston Catholic girls team, as junior guard Hanna Gallian has been cleared to return to action by her doctors. Gallian suffered a partial anterior cruciate ligament tear before the season began. She is the first of the three Irish players to sustain serious injuries this year to return. The other two, Catherine Bandak and Peri Bailey, are not expected to return until next season. Both had complete tears of their ACL.


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