WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Bryan Messerly
Ronnie Retton, a native of Fairview, W.Va., was a two-sport standout in basketball and baseball.
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A great defensive basketball player, Retton earned three varsity letters from 1957-59, serving as co-captain of the 1959 team that reached the national championship game. He played in 82 career games and scored 294 points. Retton had 105 rebounds and 104 assists during his career, averaged 14 minutes per game and shot 71.9 percent (100-of-139) from the free throw line. It was Retton’s steal and driving layup in the waning seconds that preserved the Mountaineers’ 95-92 win over St. Joseph’s in the second round of the 1959 NCAA Tournament in Charlotte.
On the diamond, Retton earned first team all-Southern Conference honors in 1957 and 1959 at shortstop. He earned three varsity letters in baseball before signing a free agent contract with the New York Yankees.
Following his collegiate career, Retton played six years in the Yankees minor league system, including stops in Auburn, N.Y., Greensboro, N.C., Augusta, Ga., and Columbus, Ga. He reached the Double-A level before retiring in 1964 to devote more time to his family.
Retton spent 23 years working for the B&W Cable Company before retiring in 1986. He enjoys playing golf on a weekly basis and attending his grandchildren’s sporting events.
A 1959 graduate of WVU, Retton and his wife, Lois, reside in Fairmont. They have five children: Sherri (WVU All-America gymnast and WVU Sports Hall of Fame member), Mary Lou (Olympic Gold medalist), Ronnie Jr. (former WVU baseball player), Donnie and Jerry.
Retton’s induction marks the first father-daughter combination in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.