The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

May 16, 2008

Jay Randolph in 50th year as sportscaster

MORGANTOWN — Jay Randolph, who grew up in West Virginia, is in his 50th year as a nationally known sportscaster and still going strong in St. Louis.

Old-timers will recall that he started his career in 1958 as sports director of WHAR radio in Clarksburg. He broadcast high school football and basketball games in the Monongahela Valley before getting his first big break in 1960.

That’s when his station outbid Morgantown WAJR for exclusive rights to the broadcasts of West Virginia University football and basketball. Two years later, WAJR regained rights to the network.

But Randolph really didn’t mind, because via Wheeling WWVA he got nationwide exposure, and that gave his budding career a major boost. So much so, he looks back on that modest beginning as the key to his highly successful career.

“I absolutely enjoyed those two years doing Mountaineer games,” Randolph said from his St. Louis home. “It was the first real national exposure I could get because the WVU games were on that powerful radio station (WWVA).”

He remembers that a lot of Mountaineer fans blamed him for WVU’s 0-8-2 football season in 1960 because he had taken Jack Fleming’s job.

“I also remember that the following season, Mike Ditka’s last year as a player at Pitt, we beat Pitt at Pittsburgh,” he continued.

“But the thing that made me proud about that experience was we were able to outbid the Morgantown station for the two-year contract and the university wasn’t getting much of anything for the football and basketball rights.

“When WAJR bid again and won back the rights, they paid an amount up there where the money should have been.”

The university now owns the rights but retained WAJR as the flagship station for the network.

Randolph always will be grateful for getting the two-year opportunity.

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Mickey Furfari
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