Written by Greg Walker
The late Mark Workman was possibly the best-shooting center ever to play Mountaineer basketball.
Workman was born March 10, 1930, at Logan. He lived there until the 10th grade when he moved to Charleston to prep at Charleston High School. Workman was a two-sport star at Charleston High and led the Mountain Lions to the West Virginia basketball state title as a junior, despite the fact that his coach initially thought he was too tall to play.
He also lettered in track, where he threw the shot put, javelin and discus. Upon graduation, local car dealers gave the personable Workman a Chrysler New Yorker in order make the drive to Morgantown. His was the first automobile in the Workman family.
The 6-8 center lettered for the Mountaineers from 1950-52, scoring 1,553 career points for a 20.4 point-per-game average under the direction of WVU head coach Robert N. "Red" Brown. His top scoring performance was a 50-point outburst against Salem College in 1951. He also scored 48 points against Washington & Jefferson and 44 points against George Washington. He still holds the WVU single-game records for field goals (22), free throws (17) and points in a half (37) and holds four of the top 10 WVU scoring marks.
One of Workman's greatest accomplishments was winning the Basketball Writers Association Gold Star Award as the outstanding visiting player in the state of New York for the 1951-52 season. The Mountaineer center led WVU to wins over New York University (100-75) and Niagara (74-71). Even more impressive, Workman won the award the year after the New York press had labelled him "the Galloping Goon from West Virginia."
A first team All-America selection in 1952 by AP, UPI, Look and the Helms Foundation, he finished third in the nation in scoring as a junior (26.1) and sixth among the national scoring leaders as a senior (23.1), while averaging 17.5 rebounds per game. Workman was just the third All-American in WVU history.
Immediately following his college days, Workman went on a tour of Europe with the Harlem Globetrotters. He then returned to the states to play professional basketball with the Milwaukee Hawks, the Philadelphia Warriors and the Baltimore Bullets from 1952-54.
After his playing days were over, Workman became a salesman and was, in part, responsible for bringing bowling to the Orient as a representative of the Brunswick Bowling Company. He later moved to Florida where he worked as a salesman for a mining company, but his true love in the Sunshine State was fishing.
Workman was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame in 1974. He passed away December 21, 1983, in Bradenton, Fla. He is survived by his wife Jane, and his sister Janice Clark of Knoxville, Tenn.