On This Day in Mountaineers History: Steve Berger Sets the Career Assists Record


Jan 9, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; The West Virginia Mountaineers bench reacts against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. West Virginia beat Texas 57-53 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Probably the best set up man in Mountaineers history is one of the point guards who doesn’t get as much recognition as other big name players in program history is Steve Berger.

Berger, the 5’11” point guard out of Boomer, WV, played for famed Mountaineers coach Gale Catlett from the fall of 1986 through the spring of 1990.

One of the stars of WVU’s late 1980s teams, Berger was the Mountaineers equivalent of Steve Nash or John Stockton. He was a guy that was known much more for his set up ability than his scoring prowess, even though he averaged 10 points and 5 assists a game for his WVU career.

While it may not have been Berger’s aim to be the top assist man in Mountaineers history, he became aware of his proximity to the school’s all-time assist record early on in his senior season.

Coming into the Mountaineers road match at Duquesne on January 30, 1990, Berger needed a mere 4 assists to claim the West Virginia career assists record held by Ron “Fritz” Williams (504). On that night, 23 years ago, Berger not only claimed the title, he blew right by it with 11 assists in the game.

The Mountaineeers needed Berger’s set ups to find open looks for Tracy Shelton, Chris Brooks, and Charles Becton. Duquesne kept the game exceedingly close, with the Mountaineers gutting out an exciting 78-77 road victory.

From that game on, Steve Berger would go on to add 62 assists to his career total, setting the record well out of reach of any other Mountaineers player to date. Since 1990, only Marsalis Basey has come close to Berger’s career record. Basey amassed 514 assists, 60 shy of Berger’s mark.

Steve Berger’s career assist record is likely to stand for quite some time with the Mountaineers lacking a star freshman point guard at this time.