Joe Kania was eagerly anticipating Alumni Night at Brooke Point on Friday.
He showed up to the Black–Hawks’ Commonwealth District boys basketball game against Mountain View dressed in a plaid black and red shirt with black pants, proudly wearing the school’s colors.
He assumed the evening would be an opportunity to reunite with former players and coaches and share old stories from when he served as the program’s head coach for 23 years until he retired in 2016.
But Brooke Point had more in store for the coach and mentor who started the program when the school first opened in 1993.
The Black–Hawks had a black drape hanging atop the scoreboard that Kania never noticed.
When the drape was removed at halftime of Brooke Point’s 87–50 victory over the Wildcats, it read “Kania’s Court.”
Kania stood at the center of the hardwood surrounded by family and former players as he dropped his head in disbelief that the court would be named in his honor.
Black–Hawks’ athletic director Jim Ralph announced that Kania’s signature will be ingrained on the court at a later date.
“I don’t know that there’s more of an elite honor that a high school coach could possibly have,” Kania said. “Brooke Point meant everything to me. The kids meant more than everything to me. I just enjoyed being here. It’s a pleasant surprise and it’s something that really touched my heart.”
Kania’s former colleagues and players said he impacted them tremendously.
Freshman team coach Tim Turner was a standout guard under Kania.
He recalled that when he was attending H.H. Poole Middle School, Kania began to form a relationship with him that blossomed when he joined varsity as a sophomore. Turner went on to star at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and is one of the foundational players for the American Basketball Association’s Fredericksburg Grizzlies.
Turner said Kania was “like a second dad” because he picked him up for practice and took him home. Turner added that Kania is the reason he came back to Brooke Point to coach.
“I wasn’t the biggest kid or my skill level wasn’t developed yet, but he saw something in me,” Turner said. “Just the communication at that time, at that age, meant everything to me. He showed me that he really cared.”
Mountain View athletic director Greg Margheim held the position at Brooke Point while Kania was there. He said Kania always had funny stories about growing up in West Virginia that kept the athletic department laughing for days.
But Margheim said Kania’s sense of humor wasn’t his greatest attribute.
“The biggest thing with Joe Kania is how he loved the kids,” Margheim said. “He’d literally give the shirt off his back to all these kids … He’s just a good, good guy and you don’t find too many like that anymore.”
Margheim also noted Kania’s coaching tree.
In addition to Turner, former assistant Brad Lear went on to become the head coach at North Stafford and is now directing a program in Pennsylvania.
Former player Danny Tryon earned his first head coaching job at Stafford before he returned to replace Kania from 2016–19. He’s now the assistant athletic director at Edison High in Alexandria. Current Brooke Point head coach Eddie Samko was a member of Kania’s staff as was Stafford head football coach Mo Hampton.
“Next to my father he was the most influential man in my life,” Tryon said. “He taught me everything that I knew about coaching and prepared me to be a head coach. That was always important to him with his assistants. He gave us more tasks to help us become head coaches.”
Midway through the second quarter Friday, Brooke Point’s staff began handing out cardboard cutouts of Kania’s face to fans to wave for the halftime ceremony. Fans also chanted Kania’s name.
Kania had to be pleased with what he saw from Samko’s charges. Brooke Point (4–8) got 20 points from Xavier Purnell to lead the rout over the Wildcats (7–5).
DeShaun Mears scored all 13 of his points in the third quarter and Gary Moran added 11. Thirteen Brooke Point players scored.
Mountain View was paced by 19 points apiece from Braden Jory and Derek Altstaetter. The Black–Hawks host Martinsburg (W.Va.) today at 3 p.m. Mountain View hosts Riverbend Tuesday night.
Mountain View (7-5): Will Hamill 0, Duncan Beaumont 0, Colin Lafley 0, Andrew Pitts 6, Jabez Clark 2, Darius Crouch 0, Brayden Hanny 0, Reggie Annor 0, Alex Davis 2, Braden Jory 19, Derek Altstaetter 19, Colin Carroll 0, Slater Sparks 0, Russell Gerald 2. Totals 18 7-12 50.
Brooke Point (4-8): Deshaun Mears 13, Christian Taylor 7, Ty Wright 5, Christian Leap 3, Gary Moran 11, Deshawn Henderson 3, Xavier Purnell 20, Avante Nation 3, Eric Mason 7, Matt Harris 5, Riley Wavada 0, Chase Scroggins 2, Pat Sullivan 1, Michael Hammond 7. Totals 33 17-25 87.
3-pointers: Mountain View 7 (Jory 5, Pitts 2). Brooke Point 4 (Leap, Henderson, Harris, Taylor).