You've probably heard the saying "it's in the genes" when people describe a family's outstanding athletics successes over several generations.
Most people who follow Major League baseball know about the Boone family and Bell family with three generations of MLB standouts.
The Christie family, with roots in Doddridge County, W. Va., has produced no less than 17 athletes who made their mark in sports, more than half in college, mainly basketball.
During each family reunion in August at Doddridge County Park, sports stories from yesteryear are among the many. And again, mainly basketball.
Basketball prowess has come down mainly through Frank and Paul, two of five of now deceased brothers who were raised on a farm just outside DCP.
The late Frank Christie of Marietta High fame, son of Frank of the five brothers, was a first team All-Ohio football and basketball player at Marietta High. He went on to win All-Atlantic Coast basketball honors at Wake Forest, played in the 1962 Final Four, and also was a standout baseball pitcher for the Demon Deacons.
The ex-Tigers' son Brandon was a standout at Catawba College in Salisbury, N. C., and Brandon and brother Burton were high school standouts near Winston Salem.
Kristy Rhodes Lilley, daughter of Frank's sister Diann Richardson, was a standout on Belpre's 1997 powerful regional tournament basketball team. Kristy went on to play basketball and start at perennial Ohio Conference power Capital University. Brother Tony Richardson was a capable Belpre athlete.
Paul Christie's son Don was a basketball standout and was head coach for many years at Salem College and later at Concord College (W. Va.). He, brother Dave, and their dad are in the Salem Athletic Hall of Fame.
Dave Christie was an All-WVIAC player at Salem while playing under brother Don and coached high school basketball in Ohio for almost 30 years before retiring. He posted a 299-161 record, mostly at Oak Harbor High School near Toledo.
Dave's 1983 Oak Harbor team was 23-1, the loss coming in the state Class AA finals to 27-1 Columbus Bexley. The stars on that Oak Harbor team included Dave's two sons, Dan, All-Ohio, and Don.
Dan Christie went on to start and play well for the University of Dayton Flyers who competed the NCAA Tournament. Don played for uncle Don at Concord and then coached at Elmore Woodmore High near Toledo.
Dan Christie has three daughters, all of them still playing basketball. Nicole, a Kettering Alter graduate, is playing club ball at Ohio University. Ashley, twice Division II All-Ohio at Alter, will be a freshman cager at NCAA Division I Mount St. Mary's (Md). Courtney is a senior and star at Alter.
For the last three seasons, Division II Alter has played in the state tournament, winning one title (2008), losing in the semis (2009), and finishing runnerup (2010).
Each time the opponent was Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown.
Ashley was Division II state tournament MVP as a sophomore, scoring 20 points in Alter's title game victory.
Nicole was a regular on the championship team as a senior while Courtney saw brief action as a freshman in the finals.
Kettering Alter was 24-3, 25-3, and 24-3 in Ashley's three seasons as a starter.
Alter lost 48-35 to Brown in last March's state final after beating Washington Court House Miami Trace 57-46 in the semis with Courtney and Ashley leading the way with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Bill Robinson is a former Marietta Times sports editor.