MORGANTOWN — Cliff Nichols and John Veasey have seen a whole lot in their time working for the Times West Virginian and they aren’t always in agreement when it comes to things they have observed over the years.
There is, however, one thing on which they are in total agreement because they were both there to see it with their own eyes.
“Kerry Marbury is the fastest man I’ve ever seen,” Nichols said the other day when Nick Saban, Marbury’s former high school teammate who went on to win national football championships as a coach at LSU and Alabama, was in town to be honored by the Chamber of Commerce.
Nichols went on to say that he had never witnessed anything like Marbury coming around the far turn in full lean on the Fairmont track at East-West Stadium.
Veasey was at the same meet and backed up Nichols’ story.
“I happened to be on that turn and he just flew by,” said Veasey.
He stopped short of saying that he could not see him due to the dust that he’d raised as he roared around the turn, perhaps because Marbury’s feet were barely touching the track. It may not have been that day, but Marbury once was clocked at 9.6 in the 100, which is approaching world class speed.
Marbury, of course, translated his speed to the football field, took it from his tiny coal-mining home town of Carolina, W.Va., and spent much of his life running in the fast lane. He was a running back like few other who had played at WVU, having been the most coveted prize coach Jim Carlen would land.
It used to be you could find his name in the WVU record books, because on Oct. 23, 1971, he rushed for 291 yards and three touchdowns against Temple. Did we mention that he carried the ball only 22 times and that he missed part of the third quarter with a leg injury, all of it combining to keep him not from gaining 300 yards but possibly 400.