Chris Herren speaks in Salem


Salem, VA(WFXR)-Salem High School, the Western Virginia Basketball Officials Association and the City of Salem Parks and Recreation Department expanded the Fourth Annual Adam Ward Classic this winter. This year, games will take place on two days and the expanded 20-team line-up will get a major boost from former McDonald’s All-American and Boston Celtics player Chris Herren. On Thursday night, Herren was at the Salem Civic Center arena telling his incredible story and outlining the all-too-real dangers of alcohol and opioid addiction. “The opioid crisis is very real, even in our part of Virginia,” says Hank Luton, the Classic’s Co-Founder. “This was an incredible opportunity for teenagers and parents to see and hear how all types of substance abuse can take down the best of us.” Herren was the focus of a highly acclaimed ESPN 30-for-30 documentary titled “Unguarded” in 2011. Admission to his appearance at the Salem Civic Center was free thanks to the efforts of the tournament committee and the generosity of many businesses and individuals in the greater Roanoke Valley. “When you see or hear the details of Chris Herren’s story, you realize that he was about as bad-off as you could be,” says Jerry Spangler, Commissioner of the Western Virginia Basketball Officials Association. “Yes, this is a basketball story, but more than anything, this is a life story, and I hope and pray that people of all ages take advantage of this opportunity.” The Adam Ward Classic is designed to honor the memory of its namesake, a former Salem Spartan and Virginia Tech graduate. Proceeds from the event benefit Adam’s scholarship that is administered annually by the Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association. “All of us associated with this event know that Adam would be proud of all of the organizers, volunteers and supporters who make the event a reality,” says Grant Smythers, the Classic’s Co-Founder. “This has become a big-time event in a very short time, and the Ward Family has been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who have taken time out of their busy schedules to remember Adam each year.” Twenty of the top boys’ and girls’ teams in the region will compete in the Salem High School gym on Friday night, January 31, and on Saturday, February 1. Spectators can secure tickets for each session at the door. They are $7 for the Friday session of games and $10 for the Saturday slate of contests. Event Features Two Days of Exceptional Games and Special Appearance by Inspirational Speaker Chris Herren


4:30 p.m. Cave Spring vs. Christiansburg (Girls)

6:00 p.m. Auburn vs. Lord Botetourt (Boys)

7:30 p.m. Patrick Henry vs. Pulaski County (Boys)


9:30 a.m. William Byrd vs. Cave Spring (Boys)

11:15 a.m. Salem vs. Carroll County (Girls)

1:00 p.m. Spotswood vs. Graham (Boys)

2:45 p.m. Salem vs. Glenvar (Boys)

4:30 p.m. Oak Hill (Red) vs. North Cross (Boys)

6:15 p.m. Northside vs. Radford (Boys)

8:00 p.m. Oak Hill vs. Believe Prep (Boys)

To learn more about the Adam Ward Scholarship sponsorship opportunities, please contact Hank Luton at (540) 521-6169 or

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