No one loved or knew more about West Virginia University sports than the late Eddie Barrett. Barrett, who served in a number of roles at the university and other athletic programs, was a sports icon.
His legacy now lives on at The Erickson Alumni Center. In 2006, Mr. and Mrs. Barrett generously provided a gift to center to establish the Barrett Hall of Honor, which houses Morgantown memorabilia, the center’s carillon and other artifacts. After Eddie passed away in 2012, his wife, Betty, wanted to do something to celebrate his legacy. Mrs. Barrett recently provided an additional gift to the WVU Alumni Association to enhance the room to include an interactive display featuring the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, memorable WVU sports moments and other athletic-related information.
“Eddie was a Mountaineer through and through, giving his university the credit for his later success. He was very passionate about WVU and its sports programs. I wanted to honor that passion for sports by helping to create a living legacy for others who shared that same passion,” Mrs. Barrett said.
A Fairmont native, Eddie was introduced to the Mountaineers at a young age by his father (‘22), who led the “Old Gold and Blue Orchestra” in the 1920s. He went to his first football game in Morgantown in 1940. His devotion to Mountaineer sports grew as a high school student in the 1940s when he covered WVU sports while working for the Fairmont Times. It was a career that would span more than six decades.
“Eddie’s memory and knowledge of sports, in particular WVU sports, was uncanny. You could ask him about any sport, any player, and he would immediately come back at you with the answer. He was truly incredible,” said long-time friend and WVU Alumni Association President & CEO Steve Douglas. “Since opening its doors in 2008, The Erickson Alumni Center has welcomed hundreds of thousands of alumni and visitors. This display will be a wonderful addition to our alumni home and a great tribute to Eddie.”
During his senior year at WVU (1951), Mr. Barrett assumed the role of publicity director for WVU Athletics. After graduating from WVU in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in English, he spent 14 years in this position where he helped publicize some of the greatest athletes in WVU history, including Hot Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Jerry West, Ron “Fritz” Williams, Mark Workman, Lloyd Sharrar, Sam Huff and Bruce Bosley, to name a few. He served on the NCAA Public Relations Committee from 1963-67.
Mr. Barrett helped bring WVU into the modern age of sports information by laying the foundation for statistics, records and other sports communications. During his tenure he oversaw the construction of a $160,000 three-level press box that featured removable windows atop of Old Mountaineer Field. His 1961 WVU basketball brochure was the first recognized nationally by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Mr. Barrett was a member of Mountain Honorary, Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Jerry West Society, and served as president of the WVU Alumni Association Emeritus Club. In 2010, he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
Mrs. Barrett has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards for her work on issues such as homelessness, affordable housing, mental health and poverty.
In 2007 Mr. and Mrs. Barrett were named Most Loyal West Virginians and received the WVU Foundation’s 2007 Volunteer Philanthropists award. Mrs. Barrett has continued their family’s legacy of giving to the University by generously giving of her time and resources to support WVU’s mission.
The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017. For more information about WVU Alumni Association giving opportunities, contact Nicole Riggleman at 304-293-4731.
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CONTACT: Nicole Riggleman, WVU Alumni Association
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