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The 13th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: West Virginia Mountaineers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on January 14, 2008


West Virginia Mountaineers

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Nickname: Mountaineers

Reason For Nickname: The mountains of the state and the people who reside in that area.

Colors: Old Gold and Blue

Conference: Big East

Arena: WVU Coliseum (built 1970, capacity 12,000)

Country Roads And The Hardwood: West Virginia’s basketball heritage dates back to the early 1900’s. Since then the Mountaineers has been considered among the top 25 in all-time victories as well as NCAA Tournament appearances.

Postseason Appearances: West Virginia has gone to 19 NCAA Tournaments, finishing as high as second in the tournament back in 1959 with Jerry West against California. Along with that, the Mountaineers has been in the NIT 15 times, winning it all in 1942 and again in 2007.

Coaching Legacy: The Mountaineers has had coaching greats like Fred Schaus, who led the Mountaineers to some of its greatest success during the ’50’s, Gale Catlett, who is the winningest coach in school history, and John Beilen, who returned the program to glory after the retirement of Catlett in 2001-02.

Big Man On Campus: West Virginia’s most famous player is Jerry West, who is the only Mountaineer to have his jersey retired. Other greats include Rod Hundley, Mike Gansey, Kevin Pittsnogle, Frank Young, and J.D. Collins.

Rivalries: For years, the Mountaineers have had a bitter rivalry with Pittsburgh on not only the gridiron, but the hardwood as well. Mainly, the rivalry has been intense lately because of the emergence of both of the programs at the respected schools.

Did You Know?: For years, the Mountaineers always came out on the floor with a blue-and-gold mat for home games. During the Fred Schaus era, one player would come out with a blue-and-gold painted basketball. That practice would last until the late 1960’s and would be reinstated under the tenure of Gale Catlett in his first season as coach, which was 1978.


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