The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

July 18, 2014

Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; athlete arrests may be a concern

MORGANTOWN — I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.

He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and 47.

Dial enrolled at WVU after graduating at home and competed as a Mountaineer standout from 1947-50.

Besides excelling in the 100-, 220- and 440-yard dashes he also joined teammates for four-man relays.

Those were well-established distances during that period and before — yards rather than meters.

Dial served in the U.S. Navy in the Korean War for all-up military duty. Then he returned to the University to get his degree in business administration in 1955.

He is a member of the Huntington High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Deciding to remain in Morgantown for his business career, he became prominent as an administrator at Sterling Faucet manufacturing company for 39 years.

He died in his residence here on June 13.

Dial, who was coached by WVU Hall of Famer Art Smith, is credited in available records with earning letters in 1949 and 1950.

Unfortunately, WVU has no statistics whatsoever on achievements Jim Dial posted as a Mountaineer track man.

Fortunately, his Huntington High alma mater didn’t forget him, putting him in its Sports Hall of Fame.

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The arrest last Monday of WVU football running back Wendell Smallwood is the latest instance of criminal allegations involving Mountaineer athletes.

This seemingly should be a matter of serious concern to not only coaches, but academic administrators at the highest levels, both athletically and academically.

Smallwood, a sophomore, was arrested by WVU campus police and lodged in the North Central Regional Jail on a warrant from authorities in Delaware for witness intimidation.

He reportedly was arrested as a fugitive from justice. A Wilmington, Del., Officer says Smallwood was wanted for witness intimidation.

If found guilty, in that state, Smallwood could face eight years in prison on the charge he is facing.

The criminal complaint is a felony in Delaware.

Smallwood, who is 20 years old, played in all 12 games for WVU last fall as a true freshman. He rushed 39 times for 221 yards and scored one touchdown.

He also contributed to the team’s passing game.

The highly promising prospect caught 11 passes for 152 yards and averaged 18 yards on kick-off returns.

Smallwood is listed No. 2 among RBs in the preseason depth chart.

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