One of the most influential sports figures in West Virginia University and Mountain State history passed away this week.
A native of Newark, Ohio, he found a college home at WVU and made Morgantown his final residence after a coast-to-coast professional journey.
An outstanding Mountaineers player who was drafted into professional basketball, he played five seasons before returning to WVU as head coach of some of WVU's greatest teams and players like HOT ROD HUNDLEY and JERRY WEST.
When the NBA expanded to the West Coast and the Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles, Schaus answered the head coaching call and again served as mentor for West, Hundley and Co. A Lakers team trainer for Schaus, by the way, was Wheeling's CHARLEY SAAD, who was at WVU when Schaus was a student.
After leaving the pro ranks, Schaus accepted the call from Purdue athletics director GEORGE KING, who replaced him as head coach at WVU, and Schaus coached the Boilermakers before making his final move back to Morgantown as WVU athletics director. His associate AD, EDDIE PASTILONG, took over when Schaus retired and has been at the job for 21 years.
During most of those 21 years, Schaus and his wife BARBARA would attend home football and men's basketball games. They would sit in the AD's press box suite adjacent to the media section and we would always find something to talk to Schaus about, especially the "good old days" at WVU, the Wheeling Outdoor League, etc.
I even had the nerve to remind him once that the first time we met, I was a high school teenager and he was the WVU head coach in the 1958-59 period. I accompanied Magnolia High School's best basketball product, JIM McCORMICK, and his father to a home WVU game at the old downtown Fieldhouse as Schaus was recruiting the Blue Eagles luminary.
The recruiting trip proved fruitful for Schaus since McCormick, after attending Greenbrier Military School one year, became a four-year starter at WVU, including an unbeaten freshman team. McCormick, a WVU Sports Hall of Famer, left WVU as the fifth all-time leading scorer.
Schaus may be gone but he left his fingerprints all over the WVU sports landscape.
He was truly one of the Mountaineers giants.
(1) Which college basketball team plays the nation's toughest schedule this season? Would you believe West Virginia U? At least that's the ranking given the Mountaineers in the computerized Sagarin Rating.
(2) The scheduled Logan at Wheeling Park boys basketball game tonight will showcase 6-foot-3 NOAH COTTRILL, a WVU recruit since his sophomore season at Poca High. Cottrill earned all-state as a freshman and sophomore at Poca before playing last season at Mountain State Academy in Beckley. Cottrill currently averages 29.6 points a game, second-best among W.Va. Class AAA players. Ripley's CHASE FISCHER sports a 32.3 per-game norm.
(3) Entering this weekend, there are only three unbeaten basketball teams in the Mountain State - the George Washington boys and two girls teams - Summers County and Westside. Summers County, by the way, is riding a 56-game winning streak.
(4) We were sorry to learn of the death of JACK DORSEY. The civil engineer for the W.Va. Department of Highways was a long-time director, and worker. at the annual West Virginia Open Tennis Tournament at Oglebay Park. He was one of the area's best ambassadors of the sport.
(5) Former WVU basketball standout MIKE GANSEY continues to impress in the NBA Developmental League. Playing for the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks, Gansey recently was named D-League Performer of the Week after averaging 24.3 points for three games.
(6) The latest additions to the OVAC Sports Museum inside WesBanco Arena are four life-size banners for the late JULE RIVLIN of Triadelphia High plus KEN ALESSI of Yorkville, DICK MILLER of Wheeling Central and ALLAN HORNYAK of Bellaire St. John's. Also, a new wall case display features independent basketball including the old Wheeling Outdoor League plus the Tri-State Tournament in Sistersville. Both venues played host to the best roundball talent - high school, college and pro, in the tri-state area.
(7) Enjoy the weekend.