The Times West Virginian

Sports

April 27, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer Bob Clousson dies at 77

MORGANTOWN — Word has been received here that Bob Clousson died on Thursday, April 24, in Sarasota, Fla., while in open heart surgery.

He had turned 77 earlier this month at his home there.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Clarksburg native lettered as a center on three of West Virginia University’s most successful men’s basketball teams that posted records of 25-5 in 1956-57, 26-2 in 1957-58, and 29-5 in 1958-59.

He was coached by Fred Schaus, the winningest men’s basketball coach in the program’s history. Clousson contributed to three consecutive Southern Conference championships and as many trips to the NCAA Tournament.

After backing up All-American 6-foot-10 center Lloyd Sharrar for two seasons, Clousson took over as the starter in 1958-59 and led the Mountaineers to a runner-up finish for the NCAA Tournament title as a senior.

California eked out a 71-70 victory for the title in the finals at Louisville, Ky.

The undersized Bob Clousson always will be honored and remembered for having competed very well against much taller and stronger pivotmen around the basket.

For his three-year career as a Mountaineer, Clousson played in 82 games with 29 starts. He made 144 field goals in 308 attempts (47.7 percent) and cashed 141 of 218 free throws (64.1 percent), for a total of 435 points.

He also had 380 rebounds (4.6 per game) and 43 assists. (Blocked shots and steals were not tabulated by defensive statisticians during that period.)

Clousson was a 1955 graduate of Washington Irving High School in Clarksburg. He was coached there by Tony Folio.

Bob Schneider, a well-known Clarksburg native with a basketball background, recalled Friday that friend Bob was quite a standout as a schoolboy, too.

“He was the 6-foot-5 center on the Washington Irving High team that went 22-0 in 1955,” Schneider said. “And I think it was the best team I ever saw come out of Harrison County”

Coincidentally, my friend longtime Morgantown journalist/author Norman Julian told me the same about Clousson previously. Schneider, who is 73, has been living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He is in good health and owns a real estate business there. He is a graduate of Clarksburg Victory High, as well as Salem College, where he played basketball.

Bob Clousson has had heart problems for some time. Mrs. Clousson said one of the valves turned out to be worse than doctors had determined.

The couple, who met when he started his coaching career in Ohio, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on April 11.

After graduating from WVU, Bob began a coaching and teaching career at the high school in Batavia, Ohio, just 33 miles from Cincinnati.

In all, he spent a total of 34 years coaching basketball. He clearly loved the sport and his devotion to it. He also enjoyed teaching classes.

While most of his career was in Ohio, Clousson eventually moved with Darlene to Fairfax, Va. After coaching at that high school outside Washington, D.C., for seven years, they moved to Florida in 1999.

The Cloussons have two sons, Troy who’s 49 and David, 46. Both live in Ohio. Two grandchildren are also survivors.

Mrs. Clousson said her husband’s body will be returned to Ohio for burial. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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