Dr. Ed Etzel
Written by Bryan Messerly
The first coach to win an NCAA Championship with a Mountaineer squad, Dr. Ed. Etzel coached the WVU rifle team from 1977-89, compiling a record of 101-5 (.952) with four national titles.
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A native of North Haven, Conn., Etzel’s Mountaineer teams were among the most dominant in NCAA history, as WVU never finished worse than second place at the NCAA Championships. Etzel coached six individual champions, 33 All-Americans and several Olympians.
Etzel led the Mountaineers to the University’s first National Championship in 1983. Dave Johnson won the NCAA smallbore title, the Mountaineers’ first NCAA win in the discipline, and WVU finished the season at 12-1. The Mountaineers went undefeated and won their second straight title in 1984, and Bob Broughton returned the smallbore NCAA title to Morgantown.
After a second-place finish in 1985, the Mountaineers went undefeated again in 1986 (9-0) and won their third NCAA title in four years. Mike Anti also won the smallbore national championship.
Following a sabbatical in 1988, the same season the Mountaineers won the national title under coach Greg Perrine, Etzel led the Mountaineers to an 8-0 record and another NCAA title in 1989.
In total, Etzel’s student-athletes earned 80 first team All-America honors, 49 second-team recognitions and nine honorable mention distinctions. Seven individual national champions were crowned during his tenure, and his squads posted seven undefeated seasons.
Etzel began his shooting career at age 10 in Boy Scouts. He attended Tennessee Tech on a rifle scholarship, where he won three All-America honors, served as a two-time team captain and won two National Collegiate Rifle Team Championships. While serving as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, he competed at the 1978 World Championships and 1979 Pan American Games and won Gold team medals in men’s 50m 3x40 and standing. Etzel competed for Team USA at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics and won the Gold medal in men’s 50m free rifle prone event, tying a then-Olympic record with a near-perfect 599 score. That same year, Etzel was elected to the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Listed on the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry, Etzel earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from TTU in 1974, his master’s in physical education from WVU in 1979 and his doctorate in counseling psychology from WVU in 1989.
Etzel is a tenured professor in the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (CPASS). He has been the lead editor and published three books on counseling and psychological services for college student-athletes, authored more than 20 book chapters, published more than 25 refereed journal articles and made 90 conference presentations. Etzel’s areas of specialty are counseling athletes, alcohol and substance abuse, grief counseling/psychotherapy with college students, coping with athletic injury, eating disorders in athletics, ethics and legal issues in sport psychology, peak performance enhancement development, retirement from sport and stress management.
Etzel has served as Chair of the Association and Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Ethics Committee and as a reviewer for the Academic Athletic Journal and the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Etzel is the Chair of the APA Division 47’s Education Committee and won the APA Division 47 award for distinguished contributions to education and training in sport and exercise psychology. He is a licensed psychologist in West Virginia, and he currently serves as the liaison between WellWVU’s Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the WVU athletic department.
Etzel and his wife, G. Anne Cather, M.D., reside in Morgantown.