By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Col. Ronald Yuss of Charleroi, Pa., was an outstanding linebacker on West Virginia University’s football teams in 1965-66-67.
Like other gridders during that period, he performed on both offense and defense. He also served as special teams captain because he did some place-kicking.
Yuss, who’s now 67, recalled in a recent interview that he had to get up earlier than most of his teammates because of a time conflict between ROTC classes/marching and football.
“I’d attend an ROTC class earlier than others so I was able to be at football practice in the afternoon,” Yuss explained.
He was coached by Gene Corum as a sophomore, after the required first year on the freshman team, then played for coach Jim Carlen in 1966 and 67 as a junior and senior.
Ironically, Yuss was the third former All-State linebacker from Charleroi High School to become a starting linebacker for WVU within a 10-year period.
What’s more, all three were honored as team captains before graduating.
The other two who proceeded Ron Yuss to Morgantown were Pete Goimariac (1961-63) and Keith Melenyzer (1960-62).
Goimariac, who earned All-America status, died about eight years ago. Melenyzer now is a highly successful attorney in Washington County, Pa.
Statistically, we do know that Yuss was credited with making 78 tackles as a junior and 116 tackles as a senior. He also had one interception, forced six fumbles and had two fumble recoveries.
“The interception came in our 15-0 victory over Pitt on Oct. 7, 1967,” Yuss recalled. “We couldn’t quite score a touchdown, but Ken Juskowich kicked five field goals for us.”
That was a WVU record at the time.
In all, the Pennsylvania native played in every one of the 30 games during his three year varsity career. He overcame injuries to both knees, he remembers, thanks to Drs. Doug Bowers and Bob Nugent.
“An honor I really cherished was when Coach Corum selected me as special teams captain,” the colonel remembers. “I’d go to the center of the field with the other team leaders for all three years.”
Did Yuss enjoy his years at West Virginia?
“Without a doubt,” he said emphatically. “And I was very lucky to follow in the footsteps of (Goimariac and Melenyzer). That is something I’m certainly proud of.”
He’s also appreciative of the fact that he was named to Syracuse’s all-opponent team. Yuss recalled that the talented Orange teams were led by All-America fullback Larry Csonka, who he played against all three years.
After graduating in 1968, Ron and wife Barbara were married as high school sweethearts, and he launched his outstanding, legendary career in the United States Air Force.
As an officer/pilot, Ron Yuss flew about 300 bombing missions during the Vietnam War. He made military service his career.
In fact, he still serves as a mission counselor for the country’s Air Force Academy.
The colonel and his wife have two grown daughters. They are Meredith Camiletti, 34, and Allyson Olson, 31. There are two grandchildren, Cole and Blake.
“Our daughters are graduates of WVU and of ROTC, and both served in the Air Force (in administrative positions),” the proud father said.
What’s more, both women are married to “Air Force fighter pilots – “just like their Dad.”