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Spring 2015

This issue we’re taking you behind the scenes of this season’s greatest athletic hits at West Virginia University.

Small Dreams Really Do Come True

Tiny fingers carefully gripped a pen. A small voice asked, “Right here?” Then Coach Bob Huggins said, “No, no, up by the top. There you go.” And just like that the WVU basketball team had signed its newest player, at 5 years old. This February, Nicholas Wince, diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, cheered on his much taller teammates to a 71-64 win over the Texas Longhorns. With the help of Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the WVU basketball team, Nicholas was able to throw his energy into a day devoted to him and his team. He found “goggle guy” (forward Devin Williams), made some dunks (with the help of a little boost), reached up his hand to join those of his teammates for the cheer and got the team on the road toward the Sweet 16. Watch a video of Nicholas in action: go.wvu.edu/Wince

Kid wearing a WVU t-shirt

BRIAN PERSINGER

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

Get ready for peanuts, Cracker Jack and the first season of a new era in WVU baseball. Earlier this spring Monongalia County opened a new ballpark overlooking the Morgantown area. It will be shared by the Mountaineers and the new Class A Minor League Baseball team, the West Virginia Black Bears. The stadium includes 2,500 seats, hillside seating, club seating, a fan deck and a park that will be open all year.

Ballgame at night
STEVEN PRUNTY 

Getting to the Top

The WVU women’s basketball team made it to the championship of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament earlier this spring before losing 62-60 in a nail-biter to UCLA. Two upplerclassmen, senior forward Averee Fields and junior guard Bria Holmes, played so well for the Mountaineers that they were named to the WNIT All-Tournament team. 

Women's basketball player
Brian Persinger

Stuck Classroom Landings

Seven WVU gymnasts made the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team. This is the second-straight season the team has placed a program-best seven gymnasts. They are seniors Lia Salzano and Beth Deal (left); juniors Melissa Idell, Jaida Lawrence and Lindsey Litten; and sophomores Mackenzie Myers and Brooklyn Doggette. 

Gymnast
Dale Sparks

Dark Horse Wrestler

WVU freshman wrestler Zeke Moisey surprised the entire country earlier this spring when he made it to the finals of the NCAA tournament in the 125-pound championship. He was the first unseeded wrestler since 2003 to compete for a national title. The Northampton, Pa., native received all-American honors — the 30th Mountaineer in program history and first since 2007 to do so. 

Wrestler
Dale Sparks

World Archery Champion

WVU sophomore computer engineering major Jeremiah Parsons won the 2015 International Bowhunting Organization World Championship title in January. This is his second-straight world championship in Hunter Class archery. 

Archer
Brian Persinger

Honoring a Legend

WRITTEN BY JOHN ANTONIK

Hot Rod Hundley, the “Clown Prince” of college basketball while playing at West Virginia University in the mid-1950s, died on March 27. He was 80. 

“Few people enjoyed the game of basketball any more than Hot Rod Hundley, and he loved sharing that enjoyment – whether he was on the court or behind the microphone,” said West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee. “And he loved being a Mountaineer. His impromptu hook shot – and swish – from the corner, as fans chanted ‘one more shot’ as he walked off the court after his number 33 was retired, is a fitting image by which to remember this great Mountaineer. His legacy will forever be embedded in our hearts.” 

WVU retired Hundley’s jersey No. 33 on Jan. 23, 2010, before the Ohio State game. Hundley led the Mountaineers to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances during what was considered the “Golden Era” of WVU basketball. The Charleston, W.Va., native holds the school record for points in a game with 54 scored against Furman on Jan. 5, 1957, and he also once scored 62 points in a freshman game against Ohio University in 1954. 

He was the first player taken in the 1957 NBA draft and played six seasons in the NBA with the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers from 1958-63, earning all-star status twice in 1960-61. After retirement from the NBA, Hundley established himself as one of the game’s top broadcasters working for the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans and Utah Jazz franchises. 

In 1994, he won the NBA’s Distinguished Broadcaster Award, an honor bestowed only twice previously, and in 2003, Hundley was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a broadcaster. 

“I am saddened by the news of the passing of my longtime friend, Rod Hundley,” Jerry West said. “Rod was not only a great basketball player, but one of the best play-by-play announcers in the game. He will be missed by all those he touched through his legendary career as will his colorful storytelling.” 

Hot Rod Hundley
Brian Persinger

On Target

We’re good at rifle, and we know it. WVU won its third-straight national championship earlier this year, and that gave the Mountaineers seven more national titles than any other school in the entire country. These student-athletes have excellent focus on their studies, too. Since 2009, four members of the rifle team have earned a combined eight Capital One Academic All-American honors. 

Rifle Team
M.G. Ellis

For the Win

Men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins was already our favorite, and now he’s everybody’s favorite. Huggins was named 2015 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year this spring, his sixth time being named a national coach of the year. He’s coached for 33 years and is 12th for all-time Division I victories at 765. 

Bobby Huggins
M.G. Ellis

Mountaineer Spirit Archive

A Very Football Birthday

Mountaineer football is turning 125 - and we're here to tackle the team's most defining moments dating back to 1891.

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Fall 2014

Mountaineer spirit runs deep, and you’re invited behind-the-scenes to celebrate the heart of WVU athletics in moments large and small.

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Fall 2015

Golf is back, WVU women's soccer players wowed at the World Cup and a new tradition at Mountaineer Field was a hit.

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Spring 2015

This season we welcomed 5-year-old basketball player Nicholas Wince, said goodbye to legend Hot Rod Hundley and bagged a few championships.

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Summer 2016

Celebrate our athletes at the Rio Olympics.

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