MORGANTOWN — Tim Kearney, of Falls Church, Va., was huge at 6-foot-11 and 226 pounds coming out of high school in 1979.
Duke and several other major college basketball powers, including West Virginia University, showed strong interest. Kearney’s size and shooting statistics were impressive.
He made George C. Marshall a powerhouse on the hardwood with Bobby Joe Smith as the head coach. Kearney earned numerous honors in Falls Church, Va.
Kearney was voted Player of the Year for the state of Virginia in 1980 when he graduated. He also made the All-Met first team in Washington, D.C.
Kearney also played in the Capital Classic against the U.S. All-Stars.
“I actually had an offer from Duke (as a junior) and was recruited heavily by Alabama and several other colleges in the United States,” Kearney recalled. “But I signed early with West Virginia.”
Why was it West Virginia?
“I’ll tell you I went there—because of one reason—and his name is Bobby Joe Smith.”
Why? “Because he was my high school coach,” he explained. “He was the same Mr. Smith who was a starter on the highly-ranked Mountaineer teams in the late 50s.”
During his four years at WVU, the Virginia native helped his teams to records of 23-10, 27-4, 23-8, and 20-12. Those earned the Mountaineers three straight NCAA Tournament appearances after one appearance in the National Invitational Tournament.
According to Kearney, Gale Catlett got Smith the coaching job at Marshall High years before he attended WVU. Smith later joined Catlett’s staff at WVU.
Both now are in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
Kearney, who was drafted in 1984 by the Portland Trail Blazers said, “I had a decent tryout and played well for a year.”
He also went abroad and competed in pro ball on teams in Holland and in Belgium for a short period, then returned to the U.S. and completed studies for his degree from WVU. His degree is in management.
Kearney has spent 17 or 18 years in IT, information technology, cyber security and things like that.
“So I wanted a change and went into construction,” he said. “And right now I work with a company called Wisko.”
That firm is involved in waterproofing tunnels and is the only firm of its kind in the country.
Tim, who’s 53, and his wife Kathy have two daughters, Jessica (27) and Michelle (31).
“As for my years at West Virginia, I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” Kearney said. “I believe West Virginia, they’re the kindest and sweetest people in the world.”
Kearney was named a team captain as a senior in 1984. He’s also a member of the WVU all-time team for the period 1984-95.
Kearney said three games stick out in his mind.
“One of them was at Youngstown State and I scored the game-winning basket,” he stated. “That was in 1984 one of our guys put up a last-second shot, it came up short and I put it in.
“Another game that sticks out was in ‘84 at Virginia Tech. I backed down inside the lane. I took the ball and hit a basket, it went in and we won the game at the buzzer.
Then there was a very big game in 1983 in the Coliseum. It was that upset of nationally No. 1 UNLV.
Kearney, who still lives in Falls Church, Va., played in 113 games. He made 241 field goals in 545 attempts (44.2 percent) and he converted 102 of 190 free throws (51.1 percent) for 584 points.
He also had 502 rebounds and 114 assists.