Hometown: Wheeling, WV
Record: 21-8-1, Bowl Record: 0-0
One of the best, and one of the most often forgotten, Mountaineers of all time is Chuck Howley. A local product from Wheeling, Howley was an incredible all-around athlete. He would earn a varsity letter in football, diving, gymnastics, and track for West Virginia. Howley was best-suited as a lineman in Coach Pappy Lewis’ scheme. Howley would find instant success for the Mountaineers, earning three consecutive selections to the All-Southern Conference team. The Chicago Bears would make Howley the 7th overall selection in the 1958 draft. He would play only one season for the Bears before suffering a knee injury that would keep him out of football until 1961. During that time, he was pumping gas in Wheeling. His career would be renewed with an offer from Coach Tom Landry’s newly formed Dallas Cowboys. Howley would have an amazing career as an outside linebacker for the “Doomsday Defense,” earning 6 All-Pro selections and Super Bowl V MVP (only MVP ever selected from losing team). It is amazing that Howley has been held out of Canton all these years. At least the people in Morgantown had the good sense to induct Howley into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Memorable Game: Today’s memorable game is a good refresher for Mountaineer fans as we prepare for our inaugural Big XII seaon.
The 1956 season as a whole, was not a very memorable one for the Mountaineers. The defense was stout, but the offense failed to put up enough points to win some close games. The offense wouldn’t need many points to give the Mountaineers an early road win at Texas. The Mountaineer defense put on an incredible performance against the Longhorns. The defense twice held the Longhorns to field goals after they had marched the ball to within the Mountaineer five yard line. The Mountaineers would get one touchdown, a 15 yard run by Larry Krutko behind the blocking of Chuck Howley. The Mountaineers beat the Longhorns by a narrow margin, 7-6.
This was the first and last time the Mountaineers and Longhorns met on the grid iron until this coming season. WVU is undefeated against Texas and I will be on-hand in Austin, TX this year to root on the Mountaineers in their first Big XII road game.
Competition: As has been the case with all the competitions for spots on the countdown: when there is a WVU Sports Hall of Famer, they will usually win. No other player to wear #66 for the Mountaineers has had a Hall of Fame worthy career. But some have had pretty successful careers such as Selvish Capers, Theron Ellis, and Craig Wilson.
Teaser: Tomorrow we will honor a more recent Mountaineer graduate. This is the first player in the countdown to come from the state of Kentucky. He comes from the small town of Catlettsburg, known for the famous resident Michael Polakovs who became Ronald McDonald. Makes me want a to get a cheeseburger and listen to the rock music.