The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 8, 2014

What a wonderful evening with ‘Coach’ Kandzari!

MORGANTOWN — This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

Dr. Stanley J. Kandzari was recognized for an amazing 44 years of distinguished, highly respected service at West Virginia University Hospitals. He has earned high praise as a professor of urology and surgery in his chosen specialty.

More than 100 people, including WVU Hospitals associates and numerous friends, attended a $100-a-plate recognition dinner given by the WVU School of Medicine honoring Dr. Kandzari for his lengthy, great professional career.

That most enjoyable event was staged memorably last Friday evening at the Erickson Alumni Center. A steady rain didn’t interfere with that tremendous tribute to “Coach.”

I’m told that the money raised at the fine function will start an endowment fund for young urology medical students needing financial aid. Of course, that is named in Dr. Kandzari’s honor.

A portrait of him and various other mementos also were presented to him.

He is a Monongalia County native and grew up in suburban Granville. And he is seen at virtually all WVU football and basketball games played in Morgantown.

So much so, perhaps the good doctor has learned so much about both sports over the years that he could offer useful tips to million-dollar coaches in their winning efforts.

In that connection, veteran Tony Caridi, West Virginia U.’s top game broadcaster, served as sort of a master of ceremonies for this dinner. Several of the honored guest’s associates also spoke.

Happily, Caridi recalled some memorable highlights of achievements in WVU athletic history. Those included the 1942 NIT championship team and the Jerry West-led 1959 team that lost by five points to California in the NCAA Tournament finalé.

What’s more, even though this wasn’t really a sports event, the Mountaineer mascot Jonathan Kimble was seen in the mix chatting. He wanted to join in the celebration.

You could tell “Coach” Kandzari truly was having a ball when dancing around with an athletic cap he was presented.

I have been among his multitude of longtime friends. That dates back numerous years when I was a patient of his in surgery for prostate cancer.

There was also another Furfari family doctor on this occasion. Dr. Sam Oliver, a urologist practicing in Charleston, had “Coach” as his mentor in medical school. He happens to be my oldest sister Ann’s only child.

Dr. Oliver was there, of course. And so was his beautiful daughter Claire. She is a first-year student in the WVU School of Medicine.

Their presence added to the enjoyment for me at one of the finest evenings I’ve ever spent honoring a very special and deserving person.

I certainly wish Dr. Stanley “Coach” Kandzari many happy years during the remainder of his career. So will his thousands of friends and associates.

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