Written by Bryan Messerly
Joseph Harrick, a native of Punxsutawney, Pa., is the only known 16-time letterwinner in WVU history.
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Harrick, who attended WVU from 1917-21, earned four varsity letters each in football, baseball, wrestling and track. In baseball, he was a pitcher and outfielder and was captain of the 1921 team that posted a 20-7 record. On the gridiron, he played tackle and blocked three punts in a game against Maryland, earning the nickname “Leapin’ Joe.” In track, he participated in the shot put, discus, javelin and 440-yard dash. In wrestling, Harrick finished runner-up to NCAA light-heavyweight champion Jock Sutherland.
Harrick was named to the Chicago Tribune third team All-America squad in football in 1919. He was named an honorable mention lineman on the all-century WVU football team and was tabbed a member of the 1919-29 WVU all-time football team.
After graduation, he signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers before a knee injury forced him to retire in 1922.
Following his playing days, he coached high school athletics for 26 years. Harrick coached football in Gary, W.Va., from 1922-24, Jeannette, Pa., from 1925-29, Johnstown, Pa., from 1930-36 and Punxsutawney, Pa., from 1936-42 and 1946-50. While he was in Johnstown, his teams only lost six games in six years and his Punxsutawney team went undefeated in 1941. Harrick also coached baseball and track and field at Punxsutawney. He was inducted into the Punxsutawney Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Harrick married Florahan Hahn in 1926 and they had four children, Joseph W., William, Mary Ann (Barilar) and Marjorie (Shenk).
Harrick, brother of WVU Sports Hall of Famer Steve Harrick, was born in 1895 and died in 1958 at the age of 62.