Written by John Antonik
An outstanding basketball player and coach, Rudy Baric will forever be remembered by Mountaineer fans for his efforts in helping WVU capture the 1942 National Invitation Tournament title in New York City.
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A team captain for Coach Dyke Raese, the 6-3 center helped WVU to a 16-4 regular season record and wins over the likes of Penn State, Pitt, Army, Washington & Jefferson and Duquesne.
Seeded last among the eight-team NIT field, Baric helped WVU to a first round upset of No. 1 seed Long Island, 52-49.
After that victory, the Mountaineers topped Toledo 51-39 before defeating Western Kentucky 47-45 in front 17,000 fans at Madison Square Garden to capture the tournament. Baric garnered MVP laurels while leading West Virginia to the national championship.
Baric assumed head coaching duties the very next year, leading the Mountaineers to a 14-7 record. The record is all the more remarkable when realizing only one player, Scotty Hamilton, was back from the previous season.
There were eight sophomores on the squad for the first season that scholarships were offered in basketball at WVU.
A three-year letterman who helped the Mountaineers to a 45-20 record during his three years as a regular, Baric is a member of the West Virginia all-time team.
Baric was a 1984 inductee into the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame. He died April 5, 1993 in Carneys Point, N.J.