EDITOR'S NOTE: This football season marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of Mountaineer Field. We thought it would be fitting to go back and talk to former players, coaches, executives and fans and get their favorite personal memory of time spent at what is now Milan Puskar Stadium. We weren't looking for game memories, but personal moments. This is the sixth installment on a number of such articles through the coming weeks.
MORGANTOWN — Jack Crow stood just 5 feet, 9 inches tall, according to statistics given out by West Virginia University in his playing days, which ran from 2006 to 2009.
He was a wide receiver who never caught a pass.
Still, he accomplished more than a lot of receivers who did catch passes, just by making Rich Rodriguez's team.
I'll never forget interviewing him before he was going to go out on Mountaineer Field for the final time.
"Just because you don't play doesn't mean you can't play," he said then.
So what did Jack Crow do?
He made his hometown of Weirton proud, and that's really what he set out to do, for Weirton was very important to him, as was attending West Virginia University. That's why, while he could have played a lower division he opted to walk on at WVU and battle the odds that he faced.
You ask for a personal memory from his time at WVU and he struggles with it at first, noting that he had spent much of a sleepless night trying to come up with what meant the most to him.
"A hundred things rolled through my head," he said. "A lot of it isn't unique. A lot of us had the same experiences ... sweating through practices, getting yelled at, bleeding, throwing up, great games and bad games. But I was trying to think of the most fun I ever had there. This was special at the time and it probably was the most fun I had at Mountaineer Field."
This was what he came up with.
"I was in high school and Quincy Wilson was there. He was the big deal and he's from Weirton. When he was a senior in high school, I was like 12 and real impressionable. He meant the world to me. Those guys, to us, they were like Steelers. They were everything," Crow said.
He had played a high school playoff game in the morning that his memory occurred.
"That night, WVU was playing Pitt, I think it was 2003. Me, Zach Cooper and Eric Turner, who we called Coal House, showered at the high school and went straight down to the game."
It was a memorable game.
"it was the game John Pennington made that catch in the back of the end zone, and Quincy blew up. I think he had 220 and two touchdowns (it was 206 yards and four touchdowns) and it was all on national TV," Crow said. "Fantastic. So here's the three of us. We didn't even have tickets. I had an uncle who had vendor passes so we kind of snuck into the game and sat in the student section with Weirton kids, bouncing around.
"It was a great experience. We were there for Quincy and we were so happy for him."
But that was the beginning, not the end.
"Fast forward, little do we know two or three years later all three of us would be on that team together. It was complete full circle," Crow said.
"When I thought about Mountaineer Field, I thought about how unique that was for Weirton, for Quincy. It was a great Weirton tale."
Weirton was home, WVU was where Crow felt he had to go.
"That place meant a lot to me and my family anyway. My parents went there. My sister went there. Actually, I had two grandparents go there. For that time that was incredible. My grandfather was there on a golf scholarship and he met his wife there and they came to Weirton," Crow said.
"Numerous cousins went there. One of my grandparents died recently and I was in the room and we talking about West Virginia. There were like nine or 10 people in the room there who had West Virginia degrees, and that's just one side, that's just my mom's side. That's not even my dad's side."
Crow admits there were ups and downs, but that it was worth it.
"The entire experience was Weirton. That meant a lot to us in Weirton. Weirton means a lot to me. It's home. To me, having those Weirton guys there and going through that with them, that was everything," he said. "Quincy probably doesn't realize it, but a lot of the reason we wanted to be there was because of him. That's special."
Follow @bhertzel on Twitter