On Thursday night the West Virginia basketball team lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but just one day removed Mountaineer Nation experience and even greater loss — the passing of Hot Rod Hundley.
Hundley created a legacy at West Virginia University, on and off the hardwood. He played three seasons at West Virginia from 1955 to 1957. At West Virginia he averaged 24.5 points per game and earned consensus All-American honors in 57′.
Hundley is one of three players, along with Jerry West and De’Sean Butler to have scored over 2,000 points while wearing the old gold and blue.
“I am saddened by the news of the passing of my longtime friend, Rod Hundley,” West told WVU Sports. “I first met Rod when I was 18 and he encouraged me to attend West Virginia University. We were Laker teammates and never lost contact.”
A West Virginia native, he led the Mountaineers to three NCAA Tournament appearance during his three years of action. His number 33 was retired back in January 2010 as it hangs from the rafters in the WVU Coliseum.
“Rod ‘Hot Rod’ Hundley, No. 33, was an innovative player, a Hall of Fame broadcaster and just a wonderful person,” West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee told WVU Sports. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time. His Mountaineer legacy will forever be embedded in our hearts.”
Following his time at West Virginia, he was drafted in 1957 and played for both the Minnieapolis and Los Angles Lakers from 1958-1963. He was an All-Star twice during his NBA days.
While his playing days in the NBA were short lived due to bad knees, he established himself as a renown broadcaster. He called games for the Los Angles Lakers, Phonix Suns, and New Orleans and Utah Jazz.