Monday, July 30, 2012

33 Bob Gresham

Hometown: Yukon, WV

Career: 1968-1970

Record: 25-7, Bowl Record: 1-0

Bob Gresham was one of the Mountaineers leading the integration charge at West Virginia University. He came to the Mountaineers in the late 1960s, giving WVU a speedy rusher and kick return specialist. He was an instrumental piece of the 1969 Mountaineer squad that won a Peach Bowl title and finished the season 10-1. Gresham was an all-purpose contributor West Virginia from his sophomore season in 1968 through his senior season in 1970. He would pile up 2,181 yards rushing, 340 yards receiving, 691 return yards, and 21 touchdowns. His 1,000 yards rushing season in 1969 earned him an All-America selection. Following graduation, Gresham was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, playing for six seasons. Bob Gresham is now a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.

Memorable Game: Gresham put in a career high for rushing yards with 173 yards against Richmond in 1969. The Mountaineers came into the home match against Southern Conference opponent Richmond with a 7-1 record. The Mountaineers knew they had the chance to earn a bowl bid (much harder to earn a bowl spot during the 1960s than today; they practically make up games so every 6-6 team makes a bowl now). West Virginia put the pressure on the Spiders, moving the ball well on the ground. Richmond hung in there, throwing for nearly 300 yards against the Mountaineer secondary. Ultimately, Gresham and the WVU rushing attack proved to be too much for Richmond as WVU won the game 33-21. The win kept WVU’s bowl hopes alive, as the Mountaineer would win out, including the Peach Bowl.

Competition: Once again, it is really tough to beat out a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. This one was close though. There were a pair of great defenders available for this spot in Scott Gyorko and Barrett Green. Both players are WVU Sports Hall of Fame candidates, but Gresham’s prowess on both offense and special teams set him apart for this selection.

Teaser: Tomorrow the countdown turns its attention to one of the most talented defensive backs in Mountaineer history. This player blanketed defenders so well, it was like he was attached to the receivers at the hip. Speaking of being attached at the hip, it reminds me of the movie Stuck on You. Especially where Greg Kinnear stars as the Bease, opposite of Cher. Enjoy.

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