Hometown: Turtle Creek, PA
Record: 19-15, Bowl Record: 1-0
Dave Van Halanger: the name alone is large. He played at an imposing size of 6 feet 6 inches and 260 pounds. Van Halanger was a fixture at tackle for Coach Bobby Bowden’s Mountaineer squads in the mid-70s. He would open rushing lanes for WVU running backs such as Artie Owens, Dwayne Woods, Heywood Smith, and Ron Lee. In the passing game, he protected quarterback Dan Kendra. The team struggled to find its rhythm in the 1974 season, Van Halanger’s first as a starter. The Mountaineers would put it all together in 1975 with the offense overpowering opposing defenses to give WVU a 9-3 record and Peach Bowl victory. Following his career at WVU, Van Halanger would go on to become one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the country. He is currently working for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Memorable Game: Now that we are dealing with offensive linemen, it is nearly impossible to track down statistics of any kind. So when it comes to this section for offensive linemen, I will talk about a memorable team offensive performance.
The Mountaineers came into the late season home game against the Kent State Golden Flashes with a 5-2 record. WVU was looking to build off of the momentum from beating Virginia Tech the prior week. The Mountaineer offense, which struggled to get anything going against the Hokies, would have no issues hanging points on the Golden Flashes. Van Halanger and the Mountaineer offensive line cleared the way for Owens and company to pile up 369 yards rushing. The line would also give Kendra the time he needed to amass 169 yards passing. WVU would ultimately blow out Kent State, 38-13.
Competition: Van Halanger was the only name at #79 that jumps out. Some other players considered were: Brian Smider, Tanner Russell, Greg Isdaner, and Nick Kindler.
Teaser: Tomorrow we honor another member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. This player went from a walk-on to Mountaineer legend to NFL starter. He was Big and he is now Rich, enough said.