The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 28, 2011

Luck ‘a smash hit’ in talk to retirees

MORGANTOWN — Oliver Luck made a big impression in addressing West Virginia University retirees recently.

“He was a smash hit before a packed house,” said Bob Slonneger, a longtime professor. WVU’s new athletic director spoke in the Great Room at the Village of Heritage Point .

“Mainly, he talked about his philosophy regarding intercollegiate athletics,” Slonneger noted.

“Luck also talked about the athletic program at the university and said his job is to see that it keeps growing and getting better.

“He was extremely well received. He told numerous stories, including some about his football-playing years.”

Luck was a two-time Academic All-American quarterback from 1978-81.

“He impressed everybody with what he had to say,” Slonneger continued. “He said there will be mega conferences, and he wants to make sure WVU is in one of these.”

While Luck feels there eventually will be a playoff system in football for major colleges, he hopes WVU always will be eligible for BCS bowls consideration as long as that system continues.

Besides teaching for many, many years, Slonniger found time to serve on WVU statistical crews at football and basketball games.

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Andy Clark, who died recently in Bluefield, was a starting end for WVU in 1941-42-46. He also is remembered as a longtime donor to Mountaineer athletics.

Clark, who was 89 years old, played for coach Bill Kern all three years, his last after returning to school following military service in World War II.

He was a captain as a senior.

Clark, who was a Mt. Hope native, helped the Mountaineers to a stunning 24-0 upset of Penn State in 1942’s homecoming game. That’s still among WVU’s all-time greatest wins.

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Two other former WVU student-athletes died earlier this month — Col. Bill Forrelli on Feb. 9 at Virginia Beach, Va. , and James R. McCartney on Feb. 22 in Morgantown.

McCartney, 90, was a guard on the basketball teams of 1939-40-41. He had been a teammate of members of the 1942 squad that upset its way to the National Invitation Tournament championship.

McCartney, who came from Pennsylvania, spent most of his life in Morgantown. He was a strong supporter who worked for the university in various positions. He also excelled as a tennis player.

Forrelli, 78, was an outstanding fullback at Morgantown High School, then saw some action under Coach Art “Pappy” Lewis at WVU in the early 1950s. He retired from military service with the rank of colonel.

He was on the WVU team that gave the school its first-ever victory over a ranked football opponent — Pitt 16-0 at Pittsburgh in 1952.

Forrelli also was a member of the 1953 team that lost to Georgia Tech, 42-19, in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1954.

He was born in Columbus, Ohio, but grew up in Morgantown’s Greenmont area.

Forrelli was inducted into the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

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