There have been many great athletes that were born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, but the following ten individuals stand out for their outstanding accomplishments during their career.
Although there will likely be other rankings released down the line, this is in fact the definitive list of West Virginia’s greatest native athletes ranked from #10 to the #1 most accomplished, best athlete in the state’s history. Without further ado, here are the rankings:
John Kruk – Charleston, WV
3-time Major League Baseball All Star, finishing his career with a .300 batting average during a 10 year career. Kruk played in the World Series in 1993.
“Hot Rod” Hundley – Charleston, West Virginia
Following his outstanding career at West Virginia University, Hundley was the #1 overall pick in the 1957 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals. He was 2-time All-American for the Mountaineers and a 2-time NBA All Star.
George Brett – Glen Dale, WV
Inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, Brett had 3,154 career hits, which is the most in major league history by a 3rd baseman and 16th all-time. In addition, Brett is one of only four players to finish his career with 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 batting average.
Chuck Howley – Wheeling, West Virginia
Howley played college football at West Virginia University, then 15 years in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys. Howley was a 6 time Pro Bowl Selection, a Super Bowl Champion and a Super Bowl MVP. He remains one of the best football players to have not been selected to the Hall of Fame.
Hal Greer – Huntington, West Virginia
The first African-American top play college basketball at a West Virginia college, Greer finished his career at Marshall averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 points per game. Greer went on to be an NBA Champion in 1967, ending his career as a 10-time All Star. His #15 was retired by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sam Huff – Edna, West Virginia
Four-year letterman at WVU, earned All-American honors in 1955. Huff was drafted by the New York Giants 1956. He was a Super Bowl Champion and a 5-time Pro Bowl selection in the National Football League.
Randy Barnes – Charleston, West Virginia
Barnes is a former shot putter who holds both the current outdoor and indoor world records for the event. He won silver at the 1988 Olympics and gold at the 1996 Olympics. His records still stand today.
Mary Lou Retton – Fairmont, West Virginia
Retton is considered one of the most outstanding gymnasts in Olympics history, winning a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals in the 1984 Olympics.
Randy Moss – Rand, West Virginia
During his incredible collegiate career with the Marshall Thundering Herd, Moss set Division I-AA records with most games with a touchdown reception (11), most consecutive games with a touchdown reception (11) and most receiving yards gained by a freshman in a season (1073).
During his Hall of Fame NFL career, Moss finished with records for most touchdown receptions in a season (23), most touchdown receptions by a rookie in a season (17), most seasons with 17 or more touchdown receptions (3).
Jerry West – Chelyan, West Virginia
During his career with the West Virginia Mountaineers, West was the school’s all-time leading scorer and was twice named an All-American. West was drafted by the Lakers with the 2nd overall pick by the Lakers in the 1960 NBA Draft.
While in the NBA, West was a 14 time All Star, a 10 time All NBA First Team, an NBA champion and a NBA Finals MVP. West is considered one of the top players in basketball history and also one of the best executives in the game’s history.