Even though Walton hadn't been a coach for more than 20 years, he'd still hear "Hey Coach," before seeing a broadly grinning Jenkins heading his way for a bear hug, Walton said. The large man - Jenkins stood over 6-feet and was a bit on the heavy side - was always good for a smile, a joke and a kind word.
Jenkins never met a stranger, Walton said, or someone he didn't want to help.
Scott James, who is in his 12th year coaching the St. Albans girls' basketball team, had known Jenkins for more than 20 years. His wife, Becky, grew up in South Charleston with Jenkins and recalled playing kickball with the twins as a child.
"Everybody liked him," James said. "His personality attracted people."
In addition to helping out at the basketball tournaments, Jenkins also coached, guiding the Riverside girls' basketball team for several years as well as umpiring baseball and softball for many years.
Jenkins umpired during a game of the Little League Softball World Series. James laughed at the memory of seeing his buddy's face on television.
"It's a tragedy and a terrible loss," James said. "He is going to be missed. Terribly by his friends but also just anybody who was involved with Wilbur in the past, present and those who would have worked with him in the future."
Will Prewitt worked with Jenkins during the WVIAC tournament for each of his 12 years with the conference, which folded after last season. He said Jenkins already was a fixture around the Civic Center when they began working together in 1999.
"He was just a selfless person and had the cheeriest disposition of anyone I've ever been around," said Prewitt, who now lives in Arkansas and is the commissioner of the Great American Conference. "That big smile ... I had the chance last year to come back for the last West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament and he was there.
"He gave me a big hug, like nothing had ever changed."
He said that was something he missed about living in West Virginia.
"Instead of a state it's more like a family," Prewitt said. "In the sports community it's an even tighter family."
Coach Walton said he was proud of Jenkins and called him the type of man any father would have been proud to have. He couldn't imagine the number of children whose lives Jenkins touched through sports.
"A lot of coaches get into it for different reasons," Walton said. "He got into it for the love of sports and the love of kids.
"He was probably the ultimate person to get into coaching. You couldn't have had a better ambassador to sports than Wilbur."
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.