WVU Announces First Group Of Mountaineer Legends
Any time you have Halls of Fame or Societies of Legends, such as West Virginia’s recently founded Mountaineers Legends of Sports, you honor not only the people who played or coached the games at the highest level, but the memories they left you with.
The Mountaineer Legends Society serves as one of three ways the department recognizes its past great student-athletes. The WVU Sports Hall of Fame serves as the first step in recognizing greatness in Mountaineer athletics. A former student-athlete must first be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame to be considered for the next phase of recognition.
After induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, the second step to honor Mountaineer greatness is Legends Society distinction, if the student-athlete meets the criteria for his or her sport. Specific criteria for Legends Society status has been established for all 18 current varsity sports, along with former sports, so that each program can recognize its past great student-athletes.
The Mountaineer Legends Society program has replaced the retirement of a jersey honor, which had previously served as the second form of recognition. The ultimate honor for greatness in a Mountaineer uniform is still to have a number retired. Currently, only three numbers in football and two in men’s basketball have been retired.
It started in 2016 with 41 Mountaineer football legends going in, then last September 22 basketball legends were honored. The football players are on display at Milan Puskar Stadium and the basketball players at the WVU Coliseum Gold Gate.
Now they have added 49 more members from Olympic sports who will be displayed at the Coliseum.
The names you will know. This is the people honored in the Olympic Sports, the entire Society of Legends list accompanies this story:
Those members are Chris Enochs, Coach Steve Harrick, Jim Heise, Bill Marovic, Coach Dale Ramsburg (baseball); Ashby Dickerson and Sam Littlepage (boxing); Coach Charles Hockenberry, Mike Krak and Coach Ira Rodgers (golf); Jack Carter, Garnet Edwards, Carl Hatfield, James Jett, Mike Mosser, Coach Dr. Martin Pushkin, Coach Stan Romanoski and Coach Art Smith (men’s cross country and track & field); Coach Bill Bonsall (men’s gymnastics); Jon Capon (men’s soccer); Coach Kevin Gilson and John Havlik (men’s swimming and diving); Joby Foley (men’s tennis); Mike Anti, Coach Dr. Ed Etzel, David Johnson, Bruce Meredith, Ann-Marie Pfiffner, Web Wright and Jack Writer (rifle); Connie Ellerbe, Pat Itanyi, Megan Metcalfe, Coach Dr. Martin Pushkin, Kristin Quackenbush and Charity Wachera (women’s cross country and track & field); Coach Linda Burdette-Good, Kristin Quackenbush and Shari Retton (women’s gymnastics); Chrissie Abbott and Katie Barnes (women’s soccer); Coach Kevin Gilson and Kim Kaufman (women’s swimming and diving); Jo Marie (Cinco) Bohn (women’s tennis); and Dominic Black, Scott Collins, Lewis Guidi, Coach Steve Harrick and Dean Morrison (wrestling).
The memories conjured up are endless, from Chris Enochs striking out batters on an early step tot he major leagues to James Jett streaking down the track on the way to an Olympic medal or Mike Mosser running dynamic miles.
It runs from the modest Dr. Ed Edsel creating a dynasty in rival to Kristin Quackenbush not only earning honors in gymnastics, which was her first sport, but also pole vaulting, while Charity Wachera’s smile as she cross the finish line in races of distances that ought to be driven in race cars was unforgettable.
“When I became Director of Athletics, one of my main goals was to recognize and honor our great history and tradition,” WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said in the announcement. “The Mountaineer Legends Society is the second-highest honor a WVU student-athlete can receive and allows us to showcase our greatest athletes whose careers have set them apart.
“Now encompassing all 18 varsity sports, as well as our past sports, the Mountaineer Legends Society is our Ring of Honor. It is our way to say ‘thank you’ to our greatest of the greats and to keep our fans educated on our storied past.”