The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 20, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. McKown among most-respected administrators in field

MORGANTOWN — A handsome young man, who had earned All-State honors twice as a football halfback at Wayne County High School, was West Virginia University’s starting center fielder on its baseball team in 1953-54-55-56.

Dr. Charles H. McKown Jr. now remains active as one of the Mountain State’s most noted and most highly respected administrators in the medical science field.

He is based in Huntington, where he remains active as vice president of health sciences at Marshall University. It’s a position Dr. McKown also held when serving as the first dean of the Marshall School of Medicine.

His parents were Charles H. and Mary Sinclair McKown. While Charles was named Jr, his father became known throughout West Virginia as “Jackie,” as a well-known football and basketball referee.

The elder McKown also was an athlete. He played football, basketball and baseball at Marshall College.

He is in the MU athletic Hall of Fame.

Dr. McKown, who played baseball only by choice at WVU, was honored about three years ago as a charter member of the new North-South Football Game Hall of Fame in Charleston.

He had played in a truly select field of talent in the 1952 N-S game and helped the South to an exciting 20-19 win against the North.

McKown recalled that Herb Royer, Logan High’s head coach then, brought along his undergraduate QB Alex Szuch, to serve as team manager.

Then eventual WVU standouts Bruce Bosley, Bob Moss and Gary Bunn also played for the South. And Gary Bunn, an end, caught a pass for the game-winning extra point (today that counts as two points).

The North squad included such greats as Sam Huff, Freddie Wyant, Bill Underdonk and other future Mountaineer standouts.

“I was the game’s leading ground-gainer,” the good doctor recalled. “I had a long touchdown run, and I even did some punting, and unfortunately Underdonk blocked one of my punts.”

Besides McKown, the first six North-South Hall of Fame selections included Wyant, Walter Easley, Robert Alexander, Huff and Mike Barber.

As a Mountaineer outfielder for coach Steve Harrick, McKown posted impressive statistics for his career. He played 76 games, finished with a batting average of .298 (.368 as a junior and .388 as a sophomore), 362 at-bats, 68 runs, 78 hits, 5 doubles, 5 triples, and 2 home runs.

He also added 31 runs batted in and 67 stolen bases to his list of career totals.

The 1955 team captured the Southern Conference championship and barely lost to Wake Forest in a three-game playoff series for the trip to the College World Series at Omaha, Neb.

Wake Forest went on to win the national title.

McKown was a first-team all-SC selection in 1954 and made the all-conference second team in 1955 (NCAA interference hampered McKown and other senior athletes in 1956. But that’s another story).

He received his bachelor’s degree in pre-med in 1956. Then he took graduate studies at WVU’s two-year medical school, before going on to the Medical College of Virginia to complete two more years for his doctor’s degree.

McKown then had a year and a half of post-graduate training in 1961. Dr. McKown was drafted into the Army Medical Corp as a captain.

His first assignment was in San Antonio, Texas.

“I served in the Army for a couple of years at the base hospital,” he recalled. “Then, I spent nine months at Walter Reed Hospital, before moving to the National Institute of Health for three and a half years.”

Dr. McKown called that “the greatest, best research institution on the planet.” It’s located in Bethesda, Md.

From there, he returned to Huntington in the fall of 1967.

In closing the interview, Dr. McKown said he could not be where he is now without the wonderful associates with whom he worked over the years.

He’s not only grateful for those in the medical profession, but also those teammates in WVU baseball and high school football.

For him, it obviously has been a highly successful and enjoyable run.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads