The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 8, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Carl Cather fixed West’s first two nose breaks

MORGANTOWN — I recently received a couple of emails from a local retired well-known Dr. Carl Cather Jr., which I’d like to share with readers.

In commenting on a recent column about Hall of Famer Jerry West breaking his nose as a West Virginia University basketball player against Kentucky, Dr. Cather remembered, “He (West) did it again, and I fixed it a second time,” both times at the original Morgantown Ear, Nose, Throat Clinic, of which he was the father.

As an 84-year-old alumnus of both WVU and the Harvard University Medical School, Dr. Cather has been a close follower of the Mountaineers in all sports as well as a helper in medical areas.

He also earned high accolades for his work at both major hospitals, as well as his E.N.T. clinics, for many, many years.

As for Jerry West, the greatest basketball player in WVU history (from 1957-60), he went on to star 14 years with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association after graduating here.

West, a Kanawha County native, was a 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard who finished his incredible playing career with a total of nine breaks of his nose.

“After the two that I repaired, I cautioned Jerry that more might follow during his professional career,” Dr. Cather recalled.

He was right!

o o o o o o

James “Buck” Harless, one of the longest and most generous among all WVU financial supporters, died on Jan. 1, at the age of 94, in Kermit.

The Mingo County native not only was a major financial contributor to the university’s athletic program but to other more important areas, including the Department of Medicine.

Harless also became widely known as the owner and operator of coal mines in southern West Virginia and a noted businessman.

One of his most recent donations reported was for the betterment of the WVU College of Law. I don’t know of anyone who has been more highly respected as a donor to the institution.

“Buck” Harless deservedly has earned numerous honors from WVU. Those included induction into the Order of Vandalia and the Mountain Honorary.

He also was selected as Most Loyal Mountaineer and has an honorary doctorate from the university.

Harless was elected into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame and the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame, too.

That’s a colossal collection of tributes to a most generous man who started out as a young coal miner and worked his way up to a coal and lumber giant in southern West Virginia.

“Buck” Harless certainly will be missed!

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