WVU Notebook: Sad News And Other Happenings
Sad news is filtering out of Marion County that former Mountaineer running back Kerry Marbury has passed away.
The 67-year-old Monongah, West Virginia, native had battled cancer in recent years and died over the weekend.
Marbury had spent 21 years working at Fairmont State University, including a lengthy stint as the campus safety director and also as a professor teaching classes, before retiring in 2014 when his health worsened because of the effects of cancer.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound speedster was one of the great recruits produced by the state of West Virginia. He, along with quarterback Nick Saban (the current Alabama head coach), helped lead Monongah High to the Class A state championships in both 1968 and 1969. Marbury rushed for over 6,000 yards in his four years as a starter with the Lions, including 402 yards in a single-game against Kingwood High. He also was a standout on the track, where he won multiple state championships in each the 100 and 220, as well as relays.
“Kerry Marbury was wonderful friend and teammate,” said Saban from his home in Alabama. “He was a tremendous competitor who attacked everything in life with a fierce determination. Growing up and playing football with Kerry is one of my fondest memories, and his lifelong friendship has meant more than I put into words. Kerry will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
WVU, with new head football coach Bobby Bowden, won a spirited recruiting battle to keep Marbury close to home, as he had offers from most of the top college programs in the country.
In an era before freshmen were still eligible to play on varsity teams, Marbury led West Virginia’s freshman squad to a 3-1 record in 1970, rushing for 308 yards on 61 carries. The next year, he became a starter on the varsity and rushed for 890 yards, which at the time was the second-best total for a WVU sophomore in school history. As a junior in 1972, despite a late-season ankle injury, he rushed for 775 yards and 16 touchdowns. Forty-seven years later, his single-season TD mark is still the eighth best ever at West Virginia.
Marbury skipped his senior season at WVU and instead signed with the Canadian Football League, where he played for both the Toronto Argonauts and the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1973.
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The move of Fairmont State University head basketball coach Joe Mazzulla could potentially impact Bob Huggins’ staff at West Virginia.
A former Mountaineer point guard, Mazzulla recently was hired as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics after spending the past two years as the head coach at FSU.
The Falcons are now just starting the search for Mazzulla’s replacement, but one candidate could be current West Virginia assistant coach Ron Everhart.
A Fairmont native, Everhart spent 18 years as a Division I head coach – 1994-2001 at McNeese State, 2001-2006 at Northeastern and 2006-12 at Duquesne – rebuilding each and ultimately producing 20-win seasons.
Everhart came on board as an assistant for Huggins prior to the 2012-13 season, ironically replacing Jerrod Calhoun who left WVU to become the head coach at Fairmont State. After five seasons at FSU, Calhoun moved up to the Division I level, taking job as the head coach at Youngstown State, and thus opening the door for Mazzulla with the Falcons.
Now could Mazzulla’s departure from Fairmont State open the door for Everhart? Nothing definite there yet, but it’s certainly an interesting possibility.
Another candidate for the FSU open could be Danny Sancomb, who spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Wheeling Jesuit and this past season was the head coach of California University of Pennsylvania, which, like Fairmont State, is a Division II program.
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One other rumor involving a current member of West Virginia’s men’s coaching staff is that WVU’s video coordinator James Long is apparently a candidate to become the next men’s basketball head coach at WVU Tech.
A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Long played for the Mountaineers from 2014-17 and then was hired by Bob Huggins to serve as the team’s video coordinator, a job he has held for the past three years.
WVU Tech, a NAIA program now located in Beckley, is looking to replace veteran head coach Bob Williams, who retired after 17 seasons with the Golden Bears. Williams led Tech to the NAIA national tournament in four of the past five years, including this season when it posted a school-best 30-5 record.
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Another new summer school session started at WVU on Monday, and with it brought another batch of new Mountaineer student-athletes enrollees.
On the men’s basketball side, freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe is now officially at West Virginia, joining junior college guard Sean McNeil and freshman guard Miles McBride, both of whom enrolled at WVU on June 3. The entrance of Tshiebwe leaves just two of Bob Huggins’ current signees for the class of 2019 not yet enrolled at West Virginia, as junior college guard Taz Sherman and juco center Ethan Richardson are not in Morgantown yet. The hope is that both will be enrolled when the next summer school session starts at WVU on July 15.
As for Mike Carey’s women’s basketball program, two highly-regarded true freshmen have both begun their careers at West Virginia. Lelilani Correa, a 5-foot-10 guard from Manchester, New Jersey, and Kirsten Deans, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Greensboro, North Carolina, both are rated as top 100 national recruits, and each now is enrolled in classes at WVU. In addition, junior guard Kysre Gondrezick remains on West Virginia’s roster. The 5-foot-8 guard, who is a transfer from the University of Michigan, played in five early season games for the Mountaineers last year before leaving the team for what was called a “personal reason.” She did not participate in any further WVU activities and reportedly spent the rest of the year at her home in Benton Harbor, Michigan. At the time most thought her time at West Virginia was over, but she remains listed on WVU’s current roster. A recent check with Mountaineer officials did not lead to a revelation on Gondrezick’s future, but there also wasn’t a statement that she was definitely finished at West Virginia either, which may be an indication that the door is still open for her return.
All but three incoming scholarship freshmen to the Mountaineer football team enrolled at WVU earlier this month. Safeties Rashean Lynn and Osita Smith, as well as offensive linemen Brandon Yates, were the only members of the class of 2019 that didn’t start class at West Virginia on June 3. That trio was supposed to enroll on June 24, but West Virginia officials have not yet confirmed their status. Head coach Neal Brown doesn’t like to report such enrollments until all the academic paperwork is completed, which typically takes a few days.