By Anthony Rhoads

Recently, the cable channel VH1 did a 10-part series revisiting the decade of Ronald Reagan, parachute pants, hair bands, Atari video games and Members Only jackets.

As someone who grew up during that era, the series was a nostalgic glance back at the past.

After seeing several episodes, I got to thinking about some of my favorite sports memories of the 80s. Here is a glance at a few of them:

The Catch: When Joe Montana threw a TD pass to Dwight Clark in the 1981 NFC championship, it marked the beginning of a new era. The TD pass gave the San Francisco 49ers a victory over the Dallas Cowboys and it was a glimpse of what the 49ers would go on to accomplish during the 80s.

By the end of the decade, San Francisco racked up four Super Bowl titles and some of the players (Montana, Jerry Rice) would go down in NFL history as some of the greatest to ever play the game.

Rise of the Mountaineers: This one is personal to me as the West Virginia Mountaineers were resurrected by head coach Don Nehlen and were thrust into national prominence.

It began in the 1981 Peach Bowl when the ?Eers upset Florida 26-6 and by 1988, the Mountaineers challenged for a national championship when they finished the regular season at 11-0 before losing to Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 1989.

As far as individual players, there were many Mountaineers that I followed in college and in the pros including Oliver Luck, Darryl Talley, Jeff Hostettler and Renaldo Turnbull.

I also remember one guy who didn't quite make it, Steve Newberry, who was a graduate of Peterstown High School, a tiny town of about 700 on the West Virginia-Virginia border.

Newberry, who played in the 1981 Peach Bowl, ended his career at WVU as the all-time team leader in interceptions and was invited to try out for the Dallas Cowboys.

Newberry didn't make it to the NFL but came back home to become a successful businessman and volunteer football coach.

Dale Murphy: Murphy was my sports hero in the 1980s.

In 1982-83, Murphy won back-to-back MVPs and the Braves seemed to be poised for greatness.

But from the mid-80s on, the Braves toiled in futility. Even though the Braves were lousy, Murphy stood out and was one of the most dominant players of his era.

Not only was he a superb baseball player, he is regarded as one of the best all-around good guys to have ever played professional sports.

The 1980 Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons played like champions that year and won the NFC West Division with a 12-4 record but a shocking loss to Dallas in the playoffs ended their dreams.

Like the Braves, the Falcons showed promise in the early 80s but like their baseball counterparts, most of the 80s were disastrous.

Even though the team was bad most of the time, the Falcons were still fun to watch with players like Steve Bartkowski, William Andrews and Billy ?White Shoes' Johnson.

Bill Buckner: Who can forget game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox? Buckner's blunder at first base nearly single-handedly cost the Red Sox the world title.

Magic vs. Bird: It was an era when I was actually interested in NBA basketball. The Magic Johnson-Larry Bird has to rank as one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics dominated the decade and a huge reason both teams were successful was the drive and determination of Johnson and Bird.

Mary Lou Retton: I'm not much of a gymnastics fan but it was pretty easy to cheer for Retton, an all-American girl from Fairmont, W.Va. who won several gold medals at 1984 Summer Olympics.

ACC basketball: What can you say about the ACC in the 1980s? Michael Jordan. North Carolina. North Carolina State. Jimmy Valvano. The rise of the Duke Blue Devils. Danny Ferry. Virginia. Ralph Sampson.

Chucky Brown? Yes, I include Chucky Brown because he was a hometown hero when I was a high school student during my sophomore and junior years at North Brunswick High School in North Carolina. Brown was a North Brunswick graduate who went on to N.C. State and then was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com.