News, Notes & Rumors – 2/20
Chuck Klausing, who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and the WPIAL Hall of Fame in 2008, passed away last week at the age of 92.
As a young high school coach in Western Pennsylvania, Klausing had incredible success. His Braddock High squad set a national high school record with a 56-game unbeaten streak in the ‘50s. Klausing also led the Falcons to six consecutive WPIAL championships (1954-59), which remains an unprecedented feat in that league.
Klausing moved from Braddock into the college coaching ranks, serving as an assistant at Rutgers and Army, before becoming the head coach of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he posted a 47-10 record from 1964-69.
He left IUP after amassing a 25-3 record in his final three seasons to become the assistant head coach at West Virginia under Bobby Bowden in 1970. He remained with the Mountaineers for six years, the last three of which he also served as WVU’s defensive coordinator.
When Bowden left for Florida State following the Peach Bowl victory in 1975, Klausing departed too, becoming the head coach at Carnegie Mellon. He turned the Tartans into a Division III power in his 10 years at the Pittsburgh university, posting a record of 77-15-2 from 1976-85. He had seven seasons with just one loss and never suffered more than three.
Klausing moved over to Pitt as an assistant coach for one season in 1986, and then finished his coaching career as the head coach of Kiski Prep School from 1987-93. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame five years later, having posted a record of 123-26-2 as a college head coach. His combined record as a college and high school head coach was 237-69-9.
A 1947 graduate of Slippery Rock College, Klausing is survived by four children – Patricia, Marylou, Thomas and Kathleen. One daughter, Nancy (Marshall), who lived in Morgantown, preceded him in death, as did his wife, Joann.
At least a half dozen Mountaineers who were seniors on last year’s football team hope to earn draft status or at least a free agency opportunity in the NFL this coming season.
Three of those – running back Justin Crawford, safety Kyzir White and wide receiver Ka’Raun White – have been invited to the NFL Combine, which runs from Feb. 27 to March 5.
One former Mountaineer receiver who is going to great lengths to try to further his professional football career is J.D. Woods. He recently signed with the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes of the German Football League.
The franchise, located in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, is 30 years old. Woods, who caught 86 passes for West Virginia from 2009-12, will play for a Hurricane squad that was 10-3 last year and features a handful of American players. Current German Football League rules allow teams to have as many as 10 non-European Union natives on their rosters, though no more than two can be on the field at any one time.
Woods was an undrafted rookie coming out of WVU who signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, but did not make the final cut. The native of Naples, Fla., is now looking to an opportunity to kickstart his pro career in Germany.
There’s a new Mountaineer on the scene, though it’s going to take another 18 years before he gets to suit up for WVU.
West Virginia safeties coach Matt Caponi and his wife Kathleen welcomed their first child into the world last week. Sal and his mom are reportedly doing well.
Sophomore quarterback David Isreal is no longer on West Virginia’s football roster. He reportedly has left the program in search of an better opportunity to play the QB position at another college.
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound Isreal, who is a native of Blythewood, S.C., spent one year at Butler (Kansas) Community College before signing with the Mountaineers last spring. On a WVU squad that was thin at the quarterback position, Isreal was one of only three scholarship QBs eligible to play for the Mountaineers last fall (another, Jack Allison, was with the team but not eligible for game action since he was a transfer from Miami). And thus Isreal traveled with West Virginia and was available in case West Virginia needed a third quarterback. He ascended to the second-team role for the last three games after starter Will Grier was lost to injury, and backup Chris Chugunov moved up to the starting spot. But Isreal never was called upon to play last fall, and thus since he didn’t play a snap in 2017, he redshirted.
If Isreal transfers down to the FSC or Division II level, he will be able to play immediately and he would have three seasons of eligibility remaining. If he transfers to another FBS school, he would have to sit out the 2018 season and would have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2019.
Isreal threw for 1,841 yards at Butler C.C. in 2016, and he led Blythewood to a 9-4 record his senior year at the South Carolina high school.