(Timothy Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports)

West Virginia Creates Mountaineer Legends Society

West Virginia has filled the gap between its athletics hall of fame and retired number honorees with the creation of the Mountaineer Legends society. Thirty-six football participants are in the initial class.

The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will introduce the Mountaineer Legends Society this fall at Milan Puskar Stadium, and it will serve as one of three ways the department can use to honor its past great student-athletes.The WVU Sports Hall of Fame will serve as the first honor to recognize greatness in Mountaineer athletics. A former student-athlete must first be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame to be considered for the next step of recognition.

After induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, the second step to honor Mountaineer greatness will be with a Legends Society distinction, if the student-athlete meets the criteria for his or her sport. Criteria for Legends Society status has been established for all 18 current varsity sports, along with former sports, so that each program can recognize its past great student-athletes. The Mountaineer Legends Society program will replace the retirement of a jersey honor, which had previously served as the second form of recognition.

The ultimate honor for greatness in a Mountaineer uniform will still be to have a number retired. Currently only two numbers in football and two in men’s basketball have been retired.

Football will kick off the Mountaineer Legends Society this fall with the addition of Legends Park outside the north entrance of Milan Puskar Stadium. In addition, fans will see the football Legends on column wraps around the stadium’s concourse. With their induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame and attainment of the new established criteria set for football, a total of 36 former football players will make the initial entrance into the Mountaineer Legends Society.

The first group of inductees in the Legends Society will be honored at the home football game against Kansas on Nov. 4. 

Men’s and women’s basketball legends will be unveiled once the WVU Coliseum renovations are completed, and the department will determine and initiate the timeline for the remaining varsity sports in the future.

“This project has been in the developmental stage for several years, and I believe it will give us another great avenue to honor our history,” Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “This club will be like our own ring of honor. We are calling it Mountaineer Legends Society because that’s what these former student-athletes are to our fans. Their accomplishments are greatly appreciated and now with three forms of recognition, first being the Hall of Fame, next the Legends Society and then the ultimate retiring of the number, I believe fans will start to see more of our all-time greats being honored.”

A yearly review will determine if a sport has a student-athlete who qualifies for Legends Society status based on criteria set for that sport. If or when the athlete is inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame and the required sport criteria has been met during his or her career, admission into the Mountaineer Legends Society will be automatic.


The individual must have demonstrated consistent and unique national excellence in his/her collegiate career, his/her accomplishments must be significant on an individual and team basis and, in general, must have made a noteworthy contribution to the history of the athletic program. The former student-athlete, coach, administrator or support staff member must first be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, the individual, if a former student-athlete or coach, must meet at least one of the following milestones for his/her respective sport:


1. Heisman Trophy recipient

2. Inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and/or College Football Hall of Fame

3. NCAA career statistical leader at the conclusion of eligibility

4. Player with one or more first team All-America postseason honors

5. Player who was selected as conference postseason offensive/defensive player of year

6. Player who was selected national postseason offensive/defensive player of year

7. Player who was selected for a major national postseason honor

8. An athlete/coach who has brought prominence to WVU and/or his/her sport as a member of an Olympic or International team or in the professional ranks

9. Coach with at least one National Championship

10. Coach with at least five conference championships

11. Coach with at least one National Coach of the Year Award

12. Coach with multiple conference Coach of the Year Awards

13. Coach with at least 100 career WVU wins

Current Qualified Football Members include:

1. Russ Bailey (1915-19)

2. Aaron Beasley (1992-95)

3. Paul Bischoff (1950-52)

4. Bruce Bosley (1952-55)

5. Rich Braham (1990-93)

6. Jim Braxton (1968-70)

7. Danny Buggs (1972-74)

8. Marc Bulger (1997-99)

9. Harry Clarke (1937-39)

10. Mike Compton (1989-92)

11. Canute Curtis (1993-96)

12. Garrett Ford, Sr. (1965-67)

13. Fred Graham (1921-24)

14. Major Harris (1987-89)

15. Ken Herock (1960-62)

16. Jeff Hostetler (1982-83)

17. Chuck Howley (1955-57)

18. Sam Huff (1952-55)

19. Brian Jozwiak (1982-85)

20. Oliver Luck (1978-81)

21. Walter “Red” Mahan (1922-25)

22. Joe Marconi (1952-55)

23. Russ Meredith (1917, 1920-22)

24. Bob Orders (1952-53)

25. Bo Orlando (1985-88)

26. Ira Rodgers (1915-17, 1919)

27. Joe Stydahar (1933-35)

28. Darryl Talley (1979-82)

29. Grant Wiley (2000-03)

30. Paul Woodside (1981-84)

31. Tom Woodeshick (1960-62)

32. Fred Wyant (1952-55)

33. Amos Zereoue (1996-98)

34. Coach Don Nehlen (1980-2000)

35. Coach Bobby Bowden (1970-75)

36. Coach Clarence Spears (1921-24)

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