By Brian Kuppelweiser for WVUsports.com
June 07, 2012 12:35 PM
In the 86-year history of the West Virginia wrestling program, two coaches have long been mainstays.
Current head coach Craig Turnbull will be entering his 35th season at the helm of the Mountaineers, but eight years prior to Turnbull’s arrival as an assistant coach in 1976, the program bid farewell to WVU Sport Hall of Fame member Steve Harrick as its head coach.
Harrick was the coach of the Mountaineer wrestling program for 29 highly-successful seasons that saw him amass a 155-99-4. In addition, Harrick’s teams claimed five Southern Conference championships with 42 wrestlers claiming individual conference titles.
While Harrick was known as much for his feats as the head of the wrestling program, he was also known for his coaching ability on the baseball diamond, as he was the manager of the WVU baseball team for 20 seasons. In his time as the baseball team’s skipper, Harrick compiled a 334-160-1 mark with six Southern Conference titles and seven NCAA district playoff berths.
For this Throwback Thursday, we will take a look at the Mountaineers’ final Southern Conference Tournament with Harrick at the helm.
The tournament, which was held at the Mountaineer Field House, pitted WVU against wrestlers from The Citadel, Davidson, East Carolina, VMI and William and Mary.
In the days prior to the tournament, the WVU had defeated West Liberty, 29-12, in Harrick’s final dual meet to finish the season with a 9-3 overall record and looked to be the favorite to win their fourth-consecutive Southern Conference title.
WVU came up just short of their fourth-straight crown on this weekend, however, as they were knocked off by The Citadel in what was the Bulldogs first-ever conference title.
Two Mountaineers – Don Killen and Jim Stevens – captured individual crowns, but WVU fell short of The Citadel’s 80 points.
Harrick would go on to be inducted into wrestling's Helms Hall of Fame in 1969, and in 2003, he was recognized posthumously with a "Lifetime Service to Wrestling" award for his contributions to the sport.