The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

July 26, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Sims still ranks among WVU’s top all-time punters

MORGANTOWN — Robert “Bob” Sims was an outstanding punter for West Virginia University in 1970-71-72.

The Zanesville, Ohio, native also saw action at defensive end and was a top-notch pole-vaulter in track and field.

Sims, who still resides in Zanesville, reached a peak in punting when he reportedly led the nation with a 48-yard punting average. His longest punt carried 70 yards.

He earned three letters in football, after playing on a freshman team as required by the NCAA in 1969. He was a varsity team captain as a senior.

Sims, who was coached by Dale Evans as a freshman, punted 93 times for 3,412 yards at WVU. He still ranks 13th on the school’s all-time career list with a career average of 38.8 yards per punt.

Unfortunately, defensive statistics apparently weren’t recorded when he performed as a Mountaineer.

Asked whether he enjoyed playing three years for Bobby Bowden, Sims replied, “Well, I’ve got some mixed feelings with Coach Bowden. I thought he was a good man. I thought he was a good coach. But I thought a couple times he dropped the ball.

“In the 1972 Peach Bowl (a 49-13 loss to N.C. State) and the 1970 game at Pitt when we had a 35-8 lead at halftime and wound up losing by 36-35. How could anyone forget those games?

“One of my high school buddies was a captain for Pitt, and he reminded me of that last weekend at our 45th high school reunion.”

However, Sims recalled that the Mountaineers gained a double dose of revenge against Pitt in ’71 and ’72 by winning 29-9 and 38-20.

He also helped WVU to quality victories against Indiana, Syracuse twice, Boston College and Virginia.

Sims, who played football, basketball, and track and field at Zanesville High, also remembers that WVU would have upset Penn State once if there hadn’t been proven officiating mistakes on two of the Nittany Lions’ touchdowns in a 28-19 contest in 1972.

“I loved playing football at West Virginia,” Sims exclaimed. “That was pretty special.”

But there were times when defensive end practice did take up some of his time to practice his punting, though his hang time and distance remained impressive.

A 1973 graduate of WVU with a degree in physical education, he never did play in the NFL. But he did perform one year with a semi-pro team in Wheeling.

In the meantime, former WVU teammate Jim Braxton, then a fullback with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, phoned Sims during the 1973 pro draft and said the Bills were thinking of picking Sims in the second or third round.

“But Braxton called me back and said he was told that somebody on Bowden’s staff – he didn’t say who – made the comment that I had a bad attitude,” Sims recalled.

“The Bills (told Braxton) ‘they’re not going to give you a shot.’ That’s why I have mixed feelings (toward Bowden) because up to that point I thought I had pretty good relationships with WVU coaches and Coach Bowden.

“That just ruined my future.”

He stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 235 pounds.

Bob and his wife Joy have been married about 35 years. They have two grown daughters, Darcey and Jenna.

1
Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU women’s team certainly has been special

    There’s lingering heartbreak in the wake of last Tuesday night’s 76-67 loss to LSU that ended the West Virginia University’s women’s basketball hopes to keep alive in the NCAA Tournament.
    The Mountaineers, seeded No. 2 and ranked as high as No. 5 nationally earlier this season, battled the seventh-seeded, home-standing Tigers toe-to-toe on even terms for 35 minutes on LSU’s own Pete Maravich Assembly Center floor.

    March 28, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Sonny Moran recalls WVU basketball’s ‘greatest tragedy’

    Sonny Moran, undoubtedly the unluckiest head coach in West Virginia University men’s basketball history, resides at the age of 88 in Alabama.

    March 26, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads