A West Virginian owns a world record in basketball, and the last thing he wants to do is talk about it.
If you haven’t watched the documentary online – “A Record of Regret” The Danny Heater Story, you should do so.
It was produced and filmed by Pikewood Creative, which is a company WVU radio announcer Tony Caridi works for.
You can see the short documentary, which features interviews with Heater and others about the time he scored 135 points in a high school game. The record still stands as the most points ever scored in a single basketball game – at any level.
Heater regrets the record, but it was his coach’s idea. He was trying to get Heater some publicity so he might get a scholarship.
Heater was very intelligent and his father had been laid off from his mining job. The family lost everything they had in a house fire during his junior season.
The Coach, Jack Stalnaker, is the person who pushed Heater to set the record. His teammates were behind him. “I felt he could play college basketball somewhere,” Stalnaker said.
The coach asked Heater’s teammates – just for one game – “to feed Danny the ball.”
Heater played for tiny Burnsville High School located in central West Virginia.
The game he scored the 135 points was in January of 1960. His mom usually came to every game, but missed that one because his father had the flu. Burnsville was playing Widen High School, another small community nestled in the hills of the Mountain State. Burnsville is located near Weston and Buchanan, W.Va.
The game was played in the little “crackerbox” type gym at Burnsville High School. The fans were right on top of the players and it had a balcony that some fans viewed the game from.
The state record at the time was 70 points. But once he got to that mark, Coach Stalnaker and his teammates encouraged Heater to continue his pace.
After he scored 80, the coach took him out. But one of his teammates said the national record is 120 – “ Leave him in the game.”
Heater made 53-70 field goal tries and 29-41 at the free throw line. Burnsville won the game 173-43.
The 6-foot-0 senior had broken a national record that still stands today.
But the humble Heater said he is “embarrassed” by the record.
His former coach said Heater was actually “introverted and shy.”
Heater attended the University of Richmond, but left after a month because of being homesick. He later married and moved to Washington, D.C. He is now retired and lives in Martinsburg, W.Va.
You can find the link on www.metronews.com or Pikewood Creative’s web-site.
“As we did our research we realized that the 135 points was really secondary to the regret that Danny has for scoring all of the points. That’s why we focused on that aspect of the story. It’s pretty amazing 57 years later that it still bothers him,” Tony Caridi said.
“Secondly, we spoke with Doug Huff who was in high school at the time Danny set the record. Heater’s performance was what started him down the path to begin keeping West Virginia high school records and then the first true national high school record book. It became Doug’s life’s work, which is pretty interesting since the Heater performance was the catalyst,” Caridi added.
Huff is a lifelong and nationally known sports writer in the state who worked in Wheeling for many years.
The heart-warming documentary is a pleasant short film on a record that many have never heard about.
Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.