During Jerry West’s junior year (1958 – 1959), West scored 26.6 points per game and grabbed 12.3 rebounds per game. He tied the NCAA five-game tournament record of 160 points (32.0 points per game) and led all scorers and rebounders in every West Virginia game, including getting 28 points and 11 rebounds in a 71–70 loss to California in the final. West was named Most Outstanding Player of that year’s Final Four. Further awards were All-American, Southern Conference Tournament MVP, and Southern Conference Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year. He was also named to be a member of the U.S. Pan American Games basketball team that won the gold medal. West demonstrated his tenacity for the game in a match against the Kentucky Wildcats. He broke his nose during an incident in the game, but he continued to play despite intense pain and having to breathe through his mouth. He scored 19 points in the second half, leading WVU to an upset victory.
In his final collegiate season (1959 – 1960) West enjoyed several career highs, such as scoring 29.3 points per game, 134 season-assists, 16.5 rebounds per game, and a shooting average of 50.4% from the field, 76.6% from the free-throw line. He was honored again with several awards: a call-up to the All-American selection, and being voted Southern Conference MVP. West’s best performance was a game against Virginia, in which he grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 40 points. Moreover, during that final year, he had 30 double-doubles and fifteen 30-point games. In his collegiate career, West totaled 2,309 points and 1,240 rebounds. He averaged 24.8 points per game and 13.3 rebounds. As of 2011, West holds 12 WVU all-time records. West and Oscar Robertson co-captained the U.S. men’s basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
n his junior season of 1980, Luck earned first-team Academic All-American honors. Luck’s 19 touchdown passes was a school record, while he also added 1,874 yards. As a senior in 1981, he led the Mountaineers to the Peach Bowl where they defeated the Florida Gators by a score of 26–6. Also named Academic All-American for the second consecutive season, Luck threw for a school-record 216 completions and 394 attempts to add to his 2,448 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added career-highs 360 passing yards and a school-record 34 completions in a loss to Syracuse that season.
Luck, who was a three-year starter, ended his career with school records of 43 career touchdown passes, 466 completions, and 911 pass attempts. His 5,765 career passing yards currently ranks fourth on the all-time school list. Luck still ranks in the top ten in nearly every career passing category.
Luck was a finalist to be a Rhodes Scholar (but he did not obtain the scholarship), a National Football Foundation Scholar, and a two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American who graduated magna cum laude from WVU in 1982. He was named the team MVP in 1980 and 1981 and won the 1981 Louis D. Meisel Award. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Luck was inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2000.
Instituted during the 2011 season by head coach Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineer Mantrip is a part of West Virginia’s gameday traditions and a recognition of the significance of West Virginia’s coal industry. The event is named for the shuttle that transports coalminers into and out of an underground mine at the start and end of their shift and takes place at every home game.
The walk begins when the team is dropped off at the corner of the WVU Medical Center and Don Nehlen Drive prior to game time. They are accompanied by the Mountaineer mascot, the Pride of West Virginia Marching Band, and the Mountaineer cheerleaders. WVU students and fans line the path to create a tunnel-like effect for the passing team members. When the team reaches the east end of Mountaineer Field, they stop to rub a 350-pound mounted chunk of coal donated by Alpha Natural Resources from the Upper Big Branch coal mine.
A new feature at the completion of the Mantrip was introduced during the 2018 season. After players and coaches have reached Mountaineer Field and touched the mounted piece of coal, they turn and wave toward the parents and patients inside WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital adjacent to Mountaineer Field. Dana Holgorsen added this portion of the festivity having drawn inspiration from the Kinnick Stadium “Wave”.
College Sports Established
Morgantown, West Virginia
West Virginia University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1912 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2012 – Present / Big 12 Conference
1991 – 2012 / Big East Conference
Mountaineers – WVU incorporated the Mountaineers nickname in 1905 after the coining of West Virginia’s state motto, “Mountaineers are Always Free.” Prior to 1905, the team was referred to as the “Snakes.”
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