Charles E. Harkins

Class of 1951 / Inducted 1980 / Men's Basketball

Charles “Charlie” Harkins graduated from Emory & Henry in 1951 and was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 for his accomplishments as a basketball player.

Before attending college, Harkins served in the United States Navy at the end of World War II. A starting guard and forward on Emory & Henry’s basketball team, he was a standout. Harkins was named to the All-State basketball team his junior and senior years and was captain of the Wasps’ basketball team 1950-51.

Harkins turned down offers from the New York Knicks and Syracuse Nationals to begin coaching and teaching in Appalachia, Virginia. He served as head basketball coach for six years, and his team’s overall record at this time was 78-39. They won the Wise County Championship once and were co-champions twice.

Harkins received a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Virginia and became a teacher and coach at Marion Senior High in 1957. Under Harkins’ leadership, the Marion High School’s basketball team record was 94-79, with two county championships and two district championships to their names. During his tenure as coach, Harkins received the honor of being voted Coach of the Year by the Roanoke Times, Bristol Herald Courier, and the Southwest District. He later became athletic director at the school before being hired as supervisor of secondary education for Smyth County School System, a post from which he retired in 1989. Even after his retirement, he remained active as a consultant to the Smyth County School System and was an organizer of Youth Government Day at Marion Senior High School.

Harkins also made many athletics contributions after his graduation. In 1958, he founded the Pepsi Cola All-Stars semi-professional basketball team and served as its player-coach from 1958-65. In addition, Harkins served as a Virginia High School football official for 35 years and was a director of the Southwest Virginia Officials Association. He was inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame for his dedication and the Smyth County Sports Hall of Fame for his dedication to athletics. He was selected to receive the 1986 Distinguished Service Award by the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association for his contributions to the coaching profession, and he was honored in 1994 with a Community Day Award

Charles E. Harkins, a Bristol, Tennessee native, died on April 18, 1998 at the age of 70.