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Encyclopedia > University of West Virginia
WVU Mountaineer Mascot statue in front of the Mountainlair Student Union.
WVU Mountaineer Mascot statue in front of the Mountainlair Student Union.

West Virginia Universty is an institute of higher learning based in Morgantown, West Virginia, with off-site campuses in Parkersburg, Montgomery, Keyser and Charleston, West Virginia. WVU was founded in 1867 as a land-grant university with the help of the Morrill Act, and was originally called the "Agricultural College of West Virginia." The university gained its current name in 1868. Enrollment for Fall semester of 2002 was 23,492 but has gone up by several thousand since then.

The university offers 170 different majors in 13 different colleges. These colleges are the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, & Consumer Sciences; the College of Business & Economics, the College of Creative Arts; the School of Dentistry; the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences; the School of Social Work & Public Administration; the College of Engineering & Mineral Resources, the Office of Academic Affairs; the College of Law; the College of Human Resources & Education; the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism; the School of Physical Education; the School of Medicine; the School of Nursing; and the School of Pharmacy. Some of these programs, especially Nursing, Pharmacy, Engineering and Education, have almost 100% job placement rates after graduation. WVU also has one of the most respected forensic science programs in the United States.

Since the school's formation, 25 Rhodes Scholars, including current WVU president David Hardesty, have been chosen from WVU. There are only 6 other public universities with more. The university has also produced 24 Goldwater Scholars, 15 Truman Scholars, 5 members of USA Today's All-USA College Academic First Team, and 2 Udall Scholarship winners.


PRT System

Because WVU's main Morgantown campus is actually split into two campuses (Downtown and Evansdale) one of the major icons at the school is a Personal rapid transit system to link its disjointed campus.

In 1974, Boeing began construction of the first major PRT project in Morgantown, West Virginia, designed to shuttle students between WVU's two campuses. The original WVU campus, located in the valley of the Monongahela River was already fully developed. Because it proved impossible to develop any more valley land, WVU expanded to a separate parcel a couple of miles away on the other side of a ridge.

The WVU PRT has been in continuous operation since 1975, with about 15,000 riders per day (as of 2003). The system uses about 70 vehicles, with an advertised capacity of 20 people each (although the real number is more like 15). The system connects the university's disjointed campus using 5 stations (Walnut, Beechurst, Engineering, Towers, and Medical) and a 4 mile (6 km) track. The vehicles are rubber-tired and powered by electrified rails. Steam heating keeps the elevated guideway free of snow and ice. Most students habitually use it. This system was not sold to other sites because the heated track has proven too expensive.


The school's sports teams are called the Mountaineers and compete in the Big East Conference, a member of the NCAA's Division I. The school has teams in a variety of sports and has won several national championships.

Mountaineer sports were started in 1891 when a group of students organized the first football game at the school in a cow pasture. Since then, each sport at WVU has adhered to NCAA rules and regulations. See below for a list of sports offered as well as other information (as of 2004):


Playing Facility: Hawley Field
Head Coach: Greg Van Zant
Most Victories: 40 in 1994
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 12
Last NCAA Appearance: 1996
All-Americans: 7
Drafted Players: 53
Players In The Majors: 19

Mens Basketball

Playing Facility: WVU Coliseum
Head Coach: John Beilein
Most Victories: 29 in 1959
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 18
NIT Appearances: 14
Last NCAA Appearance: 1998
All-Americans: 13
Drafted Players: 28
Players In The NBA: 11

Womens Basketball

Playing Facility: WVU Coliseum
Head Coach: Mike Carey
Most Victories: 26 in 1992
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 3
WNIT Appearances: 1
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004
All-Americans: 3
Drafted Players: 1
Players In The WNBA: 0

Cross Country

Head Coach: Jeff Huntoon
NCAA Appearances: 2
Last NCAA Appearance: 2000
All-Americans: 2


Playing Facility: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Most Victories: 11 in 1988 and 1993
Bowl Game Appearances: 25
Last Bowl Game Appearance: 2005 Gator Bowl
All-Americans: 9
Drafted Players: 150
Players Currently In The NFL: 19
All-Time NFL Players: 132


Playing Facility: WVU Coliseum
Head Coach: Linda Burdette
Most Victories: 26 in 1992
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 3
AIAW Appearances: 1
Last NCAA Appearance: 2000
All-Americans: 4


Playing Facility: WVU Shell Building
Head Coach: Marsha Beasley
Most Victories: 19 in 1964
NCAA Appearances: 24
NCAA Team Championships: 13
National Individual Champions: 20
NCAA All-Americans: 65
Olympians: 12

Mens Soccer

Playing Facility: Mountaineer Soccer Complex
Head Coach: Mike Seabolt
Most Victories: 13 in 1966 and 1999
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 7
Last NCAA Appearance: 1992
All-Americans: 4
Mountaineer Professionals: 12

Womens Soccer

Playing Facility: Mountaineer Soccer Complex
Head Coach: Nikki Izzo-Brown
Most Victories: 18 in 2002
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 4
Last NCAA Appearance: 2003
All-Americans: 3
Academic All-American: 4
Mountaineer Professionals: 2

Mens Swimming

Playing Facility: WVU Natatorium
Head Coach: Sergio Lopez
Most Victories: 11 in 1966
NCAA Qualifiers: 19
NCAA All-Americans: 2
Olympians: 1

Womens Swimming

Playing Facility: WVU Natatorium
Head Coach: Sergio Lopez
Most Victories: 9 in 1990
NCAA Qualifiers: 9
NCAA All-Americans: 4
Olympians: 1

Womens Tennis

Playing Facility: Mountaineer Tennis Courts
Head Coach: Dan Silverstein
Most Victories: 21 in 1990

Womens Track

Head Coach: Jeff Huntoon
Olympians: 2
NCAA National Champions: 2
NCAA All-Americans: 13

Womens Volleyball

Playing Facility: WVU Coliseum
Head Coach: Veronica Hammersmith
Most Victories: 35 in 1979
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 0
Last NCAA Appearance: NA
NIT Appearances: 1
All-Americans: 0
All-East: 2


Playing Facility: WVU Coliseum
Head Coach: Craig Turnbull
Most Victories: 14 in 1976 and 1990
NCAA Individual Appearances: 67
Best NCAA Finish: 6th in 1991
All-Americans: 16
National Champions: 3
EWL Champions: 18

School Traditions

One of the reasons WVU has such a strong history in athletics is perhaps because of the many traditions at the university. Several of the school tradtions and icons are listed below:

Flying WV

The logo of the university is known as the "Flying WV," which is one of the most popular items to emerge from the Don Nehlen era of Mountaineer football. The logo was quickly adopted as the official university logo.

The Mountaineer

The Mountaineer was adopted in 1890 as the official school mascot. A new Mountaineer is selected every year by the school's senior honorary, The Mountain. The new Mountaineer is given a custom tailored outfit and carries a traditional rifle which is fired to mark the opening of sporting events. Male Mountaineers traditionally grow a beard and wear a coonskin cap.

Take Me Home, Country Roads

The John Denver song Take Me Home, Country Roads, which has become a de facto anthem for the state, has also been adopted by WVU as its unofficial theme song. It is commonly played at most home sporting events as well as other occassions on campus. John Denver himself showed up in 1980 to help dedicate the new Mountaineer Field, now called Milan Puskar Stadium, and lead the crowd in Country Roads.

The Pride of West Virginia

The Pride of West Virginia is the marching band at WVU. It performs at the start of every football game and makes many other appearances on campus throughout the year. While on the field, they often form the shape of the state of West Virginia as well as the Flying WV. (see picture to right)

Notable Alumni

  • Ret. Gen. Earl E. Anderson - Marine Corp General
  • Allen Appel - writer
  • Phillip D. Beall - WWII & Korean War soldier & winner of a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, and two Bronze Stars
  • Terry Bowden - ABC Television Sports Analyst
  • Tommy Bowden - Head Coach at Clemson University
  • Charles Frederick Tucker Brooke - Shakespeare scholar and professor at Yale, Cornell & the University of London.
  • Marc Bulger - St. Louis Rams Quarterback
  • Gale Catlett - winningest coach in WVU basketball history
  • John Chambers - President and CEO of CISCO Systems
  • Jay Chattaway - a Star Trek music score writer
  • Stephen Coonts - New York Times bestselling author
  • William Harrison Courtney - special assistant to President Clinton
  • Brig. Gen. Frank Kendall Everest, Jr - test pilot and pioneer of rocket aircraft
  • Gen. Robert Fogelsong - US Air Force HQ vice chief of staff
  • Bucky Guth - Minnesota Twins player
  • Kathleen M. Hawk - Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Jeff Hostetler - Washington Redskins & New York Giants Quarterback
  • Sen. Harley M. Kilgore - chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization during World War II
  • Fuzzy Knight - writer of the WVU Fight Song and Country Western Actor
  • Don Knotts - television and movie actor
  • Blanche Lazzell - artist
  • William Leonhart - former ambassador to Tanzania and Yugoslavia
  • Jon McBride - astronaut
  • Herb Morrison - announcer for Chicago station WLS who described the Hindenburg German airship bursting into flames.
  • Mike Vanderjagt - Indianapolis Colts placekicker
  • Jerome Alan "Jerry" West - WVU & NBA basketball player

WVU students staged a riot against the National Guard in the spring of 1970, shortly after the shootings at Kent State.

External links

  • Official school site (http://www.wvu.edu)
  • History of West Virginia University web site (http://www.as.wvu.edu/cwc/WVU-history-bhowe.html)
  • Official WVU athletics site (http://www.msnsportsnet.com)

Big East Conference
Football: UConn | Pittsburgh | Rutgers | Syracuse | West Virginia
  Non-football: Georgetown | Notre Dame | Providence | St. John's | Seton Hall | Villanova  
Leaving in July 2005: Boston College | Temple
Joining in July 2005: Cincinnati | DePaul | Louisville | Marquette | USF

  Results from FactBites:
West Virginia University - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2513 words)
WVU was founded in 1867 as a land-grant university with the help of the Morrill Act, and was originally called the "Agricultural College of West Virginia." The university gained its current name in 1868.
The WVU Marching Band, nicknamed the Pride of West Virginia, was formed in 1901 as an all-male ROTC band.
It was composed by WVU alumni Earl Miller and Ed McWhorther in 1915.
West Virginia State University - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (517 words)
West Virginia State University is a small historically fl public college in Institute, West Virginia, an unincorporated suburb of Charleston, West Virginia.
The school was established as the West Virginia Colored Institute in 1891 under the second Morrill Act which provided for land-grant institutions for fl students in the 17 states that had segregated schools.
In 2003 the school's community college was separately accredited as the West Virginia State Community and Technical College, which is actually far larger than the main college.
  More results at FactBites »



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