Written by Greg Walker
Jack Gocke was one of the preeminent three-sport athletes during the first century of West Virginia University intercollegiate athletics.
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Born August 28, 1915, in Clarksburg, Gocke has never strayed far from his Mountaineer roots. After a stellar prep career at Victory High School in Clarksburg, Gocke lived up to his billing as a highly touted basketball, baseball and football athlete.
On the hardwood, Gocke proved his mettle by becoming the top scorer of the first 40 years of Mountaineer basketball. The center/forward led West Virginia in scoring as a sophomore (10.5), junior (11.6) and senior (11.9) from 1935-37, setting Eastern season and single game scoring records at the time. As a sophomore, the 6-1, 180-pounder scored 22 points against Washington & Jefferson and 20 against Bucknell.
An outstanding outside shooter, Gocke held the WVU career record with 770 total points, an average of 11.2 points per game, until Leland Byrd surpassed it in 1948.
Also a letterman in baseball, he won 18 games as a Mountaineer pitcher over three seasons. In fact, the righthander was responsible for more than half (18-of-31) of WVU's victories during his three years on the squad. On the gridiron, Gocke booted a 72-yard punt, still fourth longest in WVU records.
Away from athletics, Gocke was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, while studying pre-med. After graduating from WVU, Gocke went on to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he earned his medical degree. He joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and spent time in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Upon his return from the war, Gocke opened a general practice in Clarksburg. After six years, he decided to enroll in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied opthamology.
Gocke then returned to his hometown of Clarksburg, where he successfully operated his practice until his retirement in May, 1991. Through the years, Gocke remained active with WVU, acting as a member of the Athletic Council from 1960-62, and serving as president of the alumni association in 1975.