WVU Notebook: Smith’s Destination, Thorn’s Passing

West Virginia safety Tykee Smith
West Virginia safety Tykee Smith

Former Mountaineer defensive back Tykee Smith has found a new home.

A starter at the spear safety position for the Mountaineers in 2019 and ’20, Smith announced a couple weeks ago that he was entering the transfer portal.

With 114 tackles and 22 starts in his career, the 5-foot-10, 198-pound native of Philadelphia quickly found himself with plenty of suitors after he decided not to return to West Virginia for his junior season.

Penn State, Washington, Texas and North Carolina State were just a few of those schools that reportedly had contacted Smith since he entered the portal, but ultimately he decided to reunite with a familiar face.

A third-team Associated Press All-America last season, Smith tweeted that he is headed to the University of Georgia, where he’ll again team up with assistant coach Jahmile Addae.

Addae had coached West Virginia’s cornerbacks the past two years, but he took a job at Georgia this offseason, again coaching cornerbacks. As a spear safety, Smith had worked closely with Addae at WVU, and now he’ll do so again with the Bulldogs.

Smith will likely play a similar position at UGA as he did at West Virginia. The Bulldogs call theirs a star safety, and they have an opening at that position since last year’s starter, Mark Webb, is off to the NFL, and his top backup, Tyrique Stevenson, has transferred to Miami.

Georgia finished 8-2 last season, which included a 24-21 victory over Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It featured one of the top defenses in the nation in 2020, but the Bulldogs must replace seven starters from that unit.

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West Virginia University lost one of the bedrocks of its athletic department this past weekend when former women’s tennis coach Martha Thorn passed away at the age of 83.

A native of Hinton, West Virginia, Thorn graduated from James Madison University in 1959, where she played basketball and field hockey. Thorn obtained her master’s degree in health and physical education from West Virginia University in 1963. After a short stint teaching and coaching in high school, she returned to WVU as a member of its physical education faculty, and remained there until her retirement in 2000.

After the federal government enacted Title IX in 1972, Thorn and two other members of West Virginia’s faculty – Dr. Wince Ann Carruth and Kittie Blakemore – went to newly hired Mountaineer athletic director Dr. Leland Byrd and requested that his athletic department begin sponsoring varsity sports programs for females. Byrd took their advice and with very small budgets started women’s teams in gymnastics, basketball and tennis in 1973. Seven other women’s programs would follow in the future.

Thorn would coach the Mountaineer women’s tennis team for 27 years, while Blakemore led the women’s basketball team until 1992.

Thorn, Blakemore and Carruth are all members of the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences (CPASS) Hall of Fame. All three have now passed away – Carruth in 1995, Blakemore in 2020 and Thorn on April 4.

Martha is survived by her husband, Gordon, and three children – Susan, Sarah and John.

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West Virginia’s women’s basketball team (22-7, 13-5 Big 12) checked in at No. 24 in the final edition of this year’s USA Today Coaches Poll, announced Monday.

West Virginia guard Kirsten Deans (3) gets contact from Kansas' Tina Stephens (1)
West Virginia guard Kirsten Deans (3) gets contact from Kansas’ Tina Stephens (1)

The Mountaineers received 109 points to rank 24th in this week’s poll. West Virginia finished ranked behind No. 23 Arkansas (19-9) and in front of No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast (26-3). WVU ranked as high as No. 20 in this year’s Coaches Poll.

WVU is one of two Big 12 teams featured in the final rankings. Baylor (28-3, 17-1 Big 12), who represented the conference in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, received 672 points and finished the season at No. 5 in the poll.

 

 

 

Home Page forums WVU Notebook: Smith’s Destination, Thorn’s Passing

  • This topic has 2 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated by RipsRevenge.
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  • #143785

    Former Mountaineer defensive back Tykee Smith has found a new home. A starter at the spear safety position for the Mountaineers in 2019 and ’20, Smith
    [See the full post at: WVU Notebook: Smith’s Destination, Thorn’s Passing]

    #143835

    Addae main reason Smith lands at Georgia I’m sure

    #143879

    I knew Martha in passing with a friendly hello and some pleasant small talk.  One of the big 3 in women’s athletics at WVU.  I started at WVU in the Title 9 infancy and what the 3 ladies accomplished was not only groundbreaking in WVU athletics but also the growth of women as competitors and broadened the view of what women can accomplish.  I’ve always been a big proponent of equality in opportunity for men and women that Title 9 provided.  The big 3 should always be acknowledged when discussing ladies athletics at WVU for not only being the initiators but also being successful in getting women’s athletics to be a standard part of WVU’s athletic department.  A special thanks to Martha for all she accomplished and a hearty Rest in Peace.

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Home Page forums WVU Notebook: Smith’s Destination, Thorn’s Passing

Home Page forums WVU Notebook: Smith’s Destination, Thorn’s Passing