The Times West Virginian

March 15, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Allara cherishes his time with WVU

By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Dr. Dave Allara, a native of Ieager High School in McDowell County W.Va., was a three-year letterman on the West Virginia University men’s basketball teams in from 1977 to 1979.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound forward had begun his college career as a junior varsity team player at Marshall College where he was enrolled as a freshman. Then he transferred to WVU and sat out a year as redshirt under NCAA rules.

Allara, who now resides in Delray Beach, Fla., played two years as a Mountaineer for coach Joedy Gardner and the other season as a senior for coach Gale Catlett in 1979. He was honored as a team captain in his senior year.

While he originally majored in pharmacy, Allara soon switched course and earned his doctorate degree in medicine from WVU in 1983.

As a player at Ieager High School, Allara played against Welch High School star Maurice Robinson all four years, he remembers. Then he and “Mo” were Mountaineer teammates in 1977 and 78.

Dr. Allara, meanwhile, spent the vast majority of his career as an ophthalmologist practicing in Charleston before heading to Florida.

Allara, who joined the WVU program in the summer of 1975, said he thoroughly enjoyed his years academically and athletically that he spent in Morgantown.

“Playing basketball there kind of felt like wearing the jersey really meant something. I loved it. You were proud to be a Mountaineer,” he said.

“You tried to do your best for the state and the university, and to represent yourself to everybody. And I was a scholar athlete.”

Obviously, the good doctor remains proud that he’s not only a graduate of the school of medicine but also of the school of pharmacy.

He served 20 years in his Charleston practice before retiring four years ago.

“The years I had playing basketball, I would not trade for anything, even though some personal health issues kind of haunted me at times,” he noted.

Allara, who is divorced from a woman who also is a doctor, has two daughters. Kathleen Lacy Allara, 27, is associated with an insurance firm in Charleston. Grace Elizabeth, 24, is a second-year student at Mississippi State where she is studying to be a veterinarian.

While no longer practicing medicine, Dr. Allara is still working. “I’m helping people overcome alcoholic problems,” he explained. His doctor skills help him in that role.

“I cherish the years that I played basketball at WVU,” Allara emphasized. “And I think my ex-teammate (WVU men’s coach) Bob Huggins will resurrect this university’s men’s basketball program.”

Allara and Huggins spent time visiting during part of the recent two-day reunion of former WVU players and coaches. He has missed just one of those sponsored by the Varsity Club.

For his three-year career as a Mountaineer, Allara played in 45 games (502 minutes), made 50 of 96 field goal attempts (52.1 percent) and 45 of 62 free throws (72.6 percent).

He averaged 3.2 points and 1.8 rebound per game (83 total). He also had 27 assists and 14 steals.

Allara’s career-high in score was 15 points on Jan. 6, 1978 against George Washington, then an arch-rival for WVU.