They called him “Big Cat” from Upper Tract.
But this gentle 6-foot-9, 250-pound giant named Jeremy Bodkin still resides in Morgantown and is remembered as an outstanding center on West Virginia University’s men’s basketball teams from 1990-93.
He had a huge hand in helping the Mountaineers to records of 16-12, 17-14, 20-12 and 17-12 under the guidance of coach Gale Catlett. Bodkin was elected a team captain as a senior.
Three of those four teams played in postseason — one in the NCAA Tournament and two in the National Invitation Tournament.
Bodkin, who was born in Harrisonburg, Va., grew up in Pendleton County and is a graduate of Franklin High School. He played football, basketball and baseball there.
“I really enjoyed playing basketball for Coach Catlett very much,” Bodkin said recently. “It was a great time of my life.”
He certainly was a very fine player for WVU.
Bodkin recalled, “It was a challenge playing center. I played against some guys who were taller, heavier and stronger than I was at times.
“Obviously, everyone likes to score points. But I also enjoyed rebounding. In Coach Catlett’s offense, it was my job mainly to pass the ball, set screens for others and rebound the ball.
“I just did what the coach told me to do because I wanted to play (as much as possible).”
During his four years at WVU, he appeared in 101 games with only 50 starts and averaged playing 17.4 minutes per game and 5.8 points per game for his career. He made 223 field goals in 467 attempts (47.8 percent), and 135 of 190 free throws (71.1 percent) for a total of 581 points.
Bodkin, who admits that his scoring slipped because other needs were greater, also logged 132 offensive rebounds and 361 total rebounds.
Other statistics included 72 assists, 68 steals and 59 blocked shots.
Bodkin graduated in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in business. He has been selling ambulances and some trucks in Morgantown for the past 11 years.
He and his wife Alicia have been married for 20 years and still live in Morgantown. They have a daughter Jordan and a son Dakota, who just graduated from University High.
Like his father, he played football, basketball and baseball as a schoolboy. Dakota is thinking about playing college baseball in one of the state’s institutions.
The youngster is about 6-foot-4 and has done very well as an outfielder.
He played forward in basketball.
They called him “Big Cat” from Upper Tract.
- Mickey Furfari
FURFARI COLUMN- IMG could still be seen as controversial
West Virginia University is in its first year of partnership with IMG College for at least partial media rights.
FURFARI COLUMN: Jerry West merits credit for Warriors’ jump in NBA
If you follow the National Basketball Association action, you’ll note that the Golden State Warriors are faring very well.
And for such significant improvement, you’ve got to give much of the credit, I’m told, to the legendary Jerry West — the greatest basketball player in West Virginia University’s history.
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OK, so athletic director Oliver Luck admittedly remains confident that third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff can turn around West Virginia University’s sinking football program in 2014.
FURFARI COLUMN: How much lower can WVU’s program get?
How much lower can West Virginia University’s football program get in the wake of a 4-8 season?
Isn’t there any leadership in that institution that’s at least concerned about the damages thrust upon the Mountaineer fan base by Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen the past three years or so?
FURFARI COLUMN- WVU favored in football finale vs. Iowa State
West Virginia University’s football team has been listed by oddsmakers as a 9-point favorite to defeat Iowa State in Saturday’s finale of the 2013 football campaign.
FURFARI COLUMN- Polls unfavorable to Luck, Holgorsen
A friend brought to my attention recently a couple of questions asked online of listeners and viewers.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Nugent legendary to WVU med center, football program
It is said that Dr. Robert “Bob” Nugent once was something of an amateur boxer just for the fun of it.
But the 92-year-old Morgantown neurosurgeon is believed to have set a couple of all-time longevity records – not as a boxer – but as in his specialty at West Virginia University Medical Center.
FURFARI COLUMN- Could WVU football program get any lower?
I think it became full blown for all to see in West Virginia University’s 31-19 football loss to Big 12 cellar-dweller Kansas that the Mountaineers can’t get any lower, performance-wise.
FURFARI COLUMN: WVU honors two former football standouts
It was most pleasing recently to learn that two outstanding former West Virginia University football players were inducted into the institution’s College of Physical Activity and Sport Science’s Hall of Fame.
Paul Bischoff of Beaver Falls, Pa., earned All-America status as an end in 1950-51-52, and Dave Van Halanger of Turtle Creek, Pa., starred as an offensive tackle in 1973-74-75.
FURFARI COLUMN: Will Clements’ departure affect WVU athletics?
Dr. James Clements’ resignation as West Virginia University’s 23rd president for the same position at Clemson raises some serious questions about how this might affect athletic director Oliver Luck and/or the school’s ailing sports program.
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