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September 26, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Kinder first to wear 100 on jersey

MORGANTOWN — Carl “Chuck” Kinder, of Charleston, was an outstanding kicker and punter on West Virginia University’s football team some 50 years ago.

As such, he became the very first football player in the NCAA’s history to be permitted to wear the number 100 on his jersey. That was in 1963 as a symbol in observance of the State of West Virginia’s centennial celebration.

I’ve learned recently that only one other collegiate player has been allowed to wear 100 on his jersey in a game. That was Bill Bell at Kansas University in 1969 in observance of the 100th celebration of college football’s birth.

Kinder, who is a native of St. Alban’s, continued to wear No. 100 on his jersey until 1966, when he was told to take a different number. He obliged, of course.

He also was an outstanding catcher for coach Steve Harrick in baseball as a three-year letter-winner after one year on the freshman team. Kinder earned Class AAA all-state first-team honors as a catcher at St. Albans High School.

 His first point as a varsity place-kicker at WVU was against nationally ranked Navy in a disappointing 52-7 loss in the 1963 season’s opener at Old Mountaineer Field.

After missing the 1964 season with a broken ankle, he wound up his career kicking in 1965 and 1966. Gene Corum coached him three years (one as a medical redshirt) and Jim Carlen his senior year.

For his three varsity seasons, Kinder is officially credited with 14 field goals in 26 attempts and 60 extra points in 61 attempts for 103 points. His longest field goal is listed as 47 yards. He is also credited with 107 punts.

Kinder graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and stayed for a master’s degree in counseling.

“I could have played in the 1964 Liberty Bowl against Utah because my leg had healed,” Kinder recalled. “But I was completely unpracticed (kicking), and it would have cost me one season of eligibility.”

Kinder, who never participated in spring football practice because of baseball catching, was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a psychologist in 1968. He served two years in Newark, N.J.

Then he worked as a counselor for several years in West Virginia state government agencies, including the governor’s office.

He also served a stint instructing state workers, and another stint involved travel around the state.

One of his work stops was Pruntytown, where all-time Marshall and NFL great Frank Gatski was director of a boys’ school in that tiny town.

“I really enjoyed the time up there that I had with him,” Kinder said.

He also met and traded fun kicks with Pro Hall of Famer Lou Groza, who visited the state on behalf of the Cleveland Browns.

From 1977 to 1983, he was general manager of the Charleston Civic Center. He was hired the day that the city announced it was going to add an $8 million Coliseum.

Kinder, who served a total of 27 years in the Army Reserve and was discharged as a lieutenant colonel, has been retired since 2006.

“I always appreciated the opportunity Gene Corum gave me to play football and baseball for the Mountaineers,” he said.

Chuck and wife Rachel, who were college sweethearts, have been married for 47 years.

They have two sons, John, 44, and now in Richmond, Va., and Dan, 42, of Charleston. There are four grandchildren — Julia, Katie, Robb and Ashley.

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