Two More Numbers To Be Retired

West Virginia University will retire the playing numbers of two of its all-time great athletes, athletic director Ed Pastilong announced.

Basketball legend Rod Hundley will have his No. 33 retired, while three-sport standout Ira Errett Rodgers will have his No. 21 football jersey retired. The WVU Athletic Council unanimously voted to retire the numbers, and ceremony plans will be announced at a later date.

"Having a jersey number retired is the highest honor that an athlete can receive from a team or school," says Pastilong. "Rod Hundley and Ira Rodgers enjoyed outstanding careers, and the glory they have brought to West Virginia University have earned them this honor."

A native of Charleston, W.Va., Rodney "Hot Rod" Hundley averaged 24.5 points per game over three seasons from 1954-57 and scored 2,180 career points, just the fourth player in college basketball to accomplish that feat.

Hundley set the WVU single-game scoring record with 54 points against Furman in 1957, and still holds many other school marks.

During his three years as a regular, West Virginia posted an incredible 72-16 (.818) record, including three Southern Conference titles and three NCAA tournament appearances.

Hundley earned numerous Southern Conference awards: Athlete of the Year (1957), Player of the Year (1957), first team all-conference (1955, 1956 and 1957) and first team all-tournament (1955, 1956 and 1957).

Hundley set the freshman scoring record with 62 points against the Ohio University plebes and averaged almost 35 points per game. It was also during his freshman year that he learned to clown, a practice he continued for the remainder of his career.

Named to five All-America teams in 1957, he was the first player chosen in the 1957 NBA draft and played with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers from 1958-63. His career totals were 3,625 points, 1,420 rebounds and 1,455 assists in his six seasons.

Since 1974, Hundley has been a broadcaster with the Utah Jazz, where he has called over 3,000 games. In 1994, he won the NBA's Distinguished Broadcaster Award, an honor bestowed only twice previously.

In 2003, he was honored by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the Curt Gowdy Media Award. He is the first former player and the first broadcaster from Utah to be enshrined in the writer/broadcaster wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Hundley was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. He was inducted into the Utah Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004.

Prior to becoming the voice of the Jazz, Hundley worked two seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers and five seasons for the Phoenix Suns as an announcer.

In 2000, Hundley graduated from West Virginia with a bachelor's degree in arts and sciences, 43 years after leaving his alma mater to play in the NBA. In 2005, he was named to WVU's Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Considered one of the greatest college football players prior to World War II, Ira Errett Rodgers also is recognized by many as the school's greatest all-around athlete of the first half century.

Born and raised in Bethany, W.Va., Rodgers played football as a high school student at Bethany College - there were no high schools in the area for him to attend. By the time he concluded his career at Bethany, numerous colleges tried to recruit him.

A hard-driving fullback, Rodgers was piling up awards faster than he could score touchdowns. West Virginia's first 200-yard rusher, Rodgers set then-school records for the most touchdowns in a game (5), season (19) and career (42). The versatile Rodgers also threw 24 touchdown passes as well.

In 1919, Rodgers amassed the single-greatest season of any player in school history. Rodgers led the nation in scoring with 147 points on 19 touchdowns and 33 extra-point kicks. He also threw 11 touchdown passes - a rare high for that era. For his exploits, Rodgers was WVU's first consensus All-America selection.

Elected captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams as a senior, Rodgers moved on to coach the Mountaineers in football, baseball and golf. He compiled a 41-31-8 mark as a football coach and a 204-208-3 mark as a baseball coach.

A 1920 graduate with a degree in chemistry, Rodgers was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1953. He died February 22, 1963.

Hundley and Rodgers become the third and fourth Mountaineer players to have their numbers retired. Sam Huff's No. 75 (football) and Jerry West's No. 44 (basketball) were retired in November 2005.

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