clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

West Virginia Mountaineers Vs. Radford Highlanders Preview: Season 108 Episode 11 - The One For Sonny Moran

The 11th-ranked Mountaineers take on the Highlanders as we remember the man who first brought Bob Huggins to the program.

West Virginia & Regional History Center

OPENING THOUGHTS

First off, congratulations to Bob Huggins on unlocking the 800-win achievement. It’s an incredible milestone that only nine others have had the opportunity to accomplish and we as West Virginia fans are lucky to have him here coaching the Mountaineers.

For those who weren’t able to see some of the festivities in person, here are some of the video tributes and messages of congratulations that were seen at the Coliseum during postgame.

800 Wins Tribute:

Jay Bilas:

Jim Boeheim:

John Calipari:

Fran Fraschilla:

Rick Pitino:

Dick Vitale:

Jerry West:

For more of these, check out CoachHuggs.com

Another story involving the WVU men’s basketball team was that former head coach Sonny Moran passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.

Moran took over as the Mountaineers’ head coach in the summer of 1969 and was the coach when the team moved from the Mountaineer Fieldhouse (or Stansbury Hall) into the Coliseum. A picture of the 1969-70 team is below (Moran is top row, furthest to the left).

West Virginia & Regional History Center

On December 1, 1973 he started WVU’s first all-black starting line-up in an 82-78 win over Pitt.

His best season in Morgantown was in 1971-72, when the Mountaineers went 13-11. It was also the most tragic and unlucky seasons in the history of West Virginia basketball.

WVU started out 5-0 going into Christmas break, which included an upset of the very talented NC State Wolfpack. During the break, two members of the team, forwards Larry Harris and Sam Oglesby were involved in a car accident on I-79 in Fairmont.

Harris was killed and Oglesby was paralyzed.

It was a very sad holiday season for the Mountaineer faithful. Once play resumed in January, the Coliseum was sold out to honor them during the team’s 95-78 victory over Davidson.

Over the next few days some more unfortunate occurrences happened to the team. point guard Levi Phillips was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA, Bob Hornstein developed a collapsed lung and Gary Reichenbecher got a broken leg.

The Mountaineers had lost five of their best seven players in under a month. It took the air out of the team, and WVU went 7-11 after the Davidson game.

Another accomplishment of Moran’s was successfully getting a young Ohio University freshmen named Bob Huggins to come to Morgantown.

Despite being born in Morgantown, Huggs’ family moved to Gnadenhutten, Ohio during his childhood and he went to Indian Valley High in that town. After graduating from IVHS, Huggs went to Ohio U.

After one year in Athens, Huggs decided to transfer and it was Moran who recruited him to West Virginia. Soon thereafter, Moran would be replaced by Joedy Gardner as head coach of the Mountaineers where he would coach Huggs and later add him to his staff as a graduate assistant in the summer of 1977.

Moran would become the athletic director at Morehead State and then the commissioner of the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference. He retired in 1992.

Moran will no doubt be honored at some point during this season, and rightfully so. Despite no postseason appearances, he did leave a mark on the program and the 800 wins we paid tribute to on Saturday.

Huggs will go for win 801 on Tuesday against Radford.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Tuesday, December 20th

Tip-Off Time: 7:00 PM ET

Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV

Tickets: General PublicWVU Students (TOWNIES, ASSEMBLE!!!)

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: Nexstar Broadcasting Group affiliates, check local listings

LOCATION STATION NETWORK
LOCATION STATION NETWORK
Clarksburg-Fairmont-Morgantown WBOY-TV 12 NBC
Huntington-Charleston WOWK-TV 13 CBS
Wheeling-Steubenville, OH WTRF-TV 7 CBS
Lewisburg-Bluefield-Beckley WVNS-TV 59 CBS

Streaming Video: WVUSports.com (LINK TO STREAM)

Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)

Streaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineers Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn app for smartphones)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 145 ; XM 199

ODDS

None released

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Radford, Virginia

Series History: WVU leads series 5-0

Last Time: West Virginia 72, Radford 62 on December 22, 2012 in Morgantown

SB Nation Blog: Mid-Major Madness

Record: 4-6

Record in 2015-16: 16-15 (9-9 Big South)

Head Coach: Mike Jones (former assistant at Richmond, WVU, Georgia and VCU)

NCAA Basketball: Radford at Wake Forest Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • I currently have no major criticisms of the team right now. The Mountaineers look fantastic in all facets of the game and the fact that seven scored in double figures on Saturday really shows how deep the team is.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE (ON A SCALE OF 1-10)?

One. I’m as afraid of the Highlanders as I am of Snoopy.

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

I have a feeling this game might be over within the first ten minutes from tip-off. The Mountaineers really put a hurting on UMKC between the first and second media timeouts, and the Kangaroos are much better than Radford.

West Virginia 93, Radford 55