In 2005, the top catchphrase of the college basketball season was, ‘You just got Pittsnogled.”
The name of West Virginia’s standout forward, Kevin Pittsnogle, became a verb used to describe sinking a 3-pointer in the face of your defender.
Thanks to Pittsnogle’s late-season performances, the WVU basketball team advanced to the Elite 8. The 6-foot-10 sharpshooter gained national notoriety as a good-old-boy from Martinsburg, W.Va. with shaggy hair, a think mustache and arms filled with tattoos.
He was easy to root for and fun to watch – that’s where the term ‘Pittsnogled’ came from. He was beloved and is still remembered, even by non-WVU fans today.
On his radio show, New York personality Mike Francesca mentioned Kevin Pittsnogle on Wednesday.
In talking about today’s college game, Francesca talked about the current trends.
“You get these big kids like (John) Beilein had with Ponopscotch,” Francesca said.
It can be assumed that he was indeed talking about Pittsnogle. When he was in college in the early to mid 2000s, Pittsnogle’s style of play was refreshing to the rest of the college basketball world. So was that WVU basketball team.
With players like Mike Gansey, Pat Beilein, J.D. Calling and Johannes Herber, the Mountaineers were potent offensively. All of those guys could shoot from the outside as West Virginia played an exciting style of basketball.
Not to say current head coach Bob Huggins’ style isn’t exciting, it was just a completely different tactic.
Pittsnogle was the poster child of that team, and the WVU basketball program for quite some time. He helped bring the Mountaineers back to national prominence. The Mountaineers were faltering as a program in the final years of Gale Catlett’s run as head coach and had some internal problems, which led to the hiring and departure of current ESPN analyst Dan Dakich, who has recently drawn scorn for his words on this current WVU basketball team.
Everything fell into place, eventually, when Beilein took over the program in 2002. Then, Huggins came to Morgantown in 2007 and has restored the program to a level where success is expected every year.
Still, without Pittsnogle and the gang, it’s hard to tell if today’s Mountaineers would still stick around in the mind’s of basketball fans nationwide.
Francesca’s words showed that the Mountaineers are always here to stay. And, that Pittsnogle, or Ponopscotch, had a lasting impact on the game.