By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Jim Warren, a Clarksburg native, was one of the sharpest shooters in the history of men’s basketball at West Virginia University.
That’s what I remembered most about this 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward who played three years of varsity competition as a Mountaineer in 1957-58, 1958-59 and 1959-60.
The legendary Jerry West was among his teammates. West recently was named as one of the top 10 greatest players ever to play the game in U.S. basketball history.
Warren, who now lives in Jeffersonton, Va., finally earned starter status as a senior in 1959-60 after having seen very little action as a sophomore and junior. But he played in 42 games, 31 as a starting forward.
He averaged 19.7 minutes per game, shot 49.8 percent from the field (150-301), cashed 41 of 49 free throws (83.7 percent) and scored 341 points — an average of 8.1 points per game.
An all-state star as a senior on an undefeated team at Washington Irving High in Clarksburg, he contributed to varying degrees to WVU records of 26-2, 29-5 and 26-5. All three seasons extended to six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The late Fred Schaus was the head coach during that string, and he guided his teams to an NCAA-record 44 consecutive regular-season conference victories.
“I really enjoyed playing for Fred Schaus,” said Warren, who’s now 74. “He was really a good guy and a great coach. I was very fortunate the good lord was looking down on me!
“My senior year I was not scheduled to get a uniform for the away games and we scrimmaged a team from the Quantico Marines. Jay Jacobs of Morgantown High and I got into that scrimmage with two or three minutes to go.
“I stole the ball and hit a couple of shots and Fred decided to play an extra period. And I think I made 19 of 20 shots. It was something like that against the Quantico Marines.
“And from that time on I was a starter!”
Warren, who averaged 10.5 ppg as a senior, tallied a career-high 25 points in an 85-81 victory over Villanova on Jan. 16, 1960. His 12 field goals and 18 attempts also were personal highs.
He also recalls an 82-72 win over Virginia Tech in 1960. West fouled out and Warren helped fill the gap to clinch the Southern Conference crown in the league tourney finals.
Warren, who retired in 2011, had an absolutely remarkable career as a head coach in basketball for an amazing 48 years in Virginia high school ranks. He also taught school for 31 of those years.
If you add his three years as a coach in AAU ball, it lengthens his longevity to an unheard-of 51 years. Could that be some sort of record for a WVU graduate with a degree in physical education?
Warren is so proud to have played with West. “How many people can say they played with one of the very best ever!” he exclaimed.
He thought he scored about 20 points in that memorable postseason win over Virginia Tech.
Jim and wife Tannis will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 3.
She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth and also has a degree from the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond.
Mrs. Warren is a pharmacist.
They have three grown children: Cathy, 46; Keith, 44; and Jamie, 40. There also are five grandchildren.