Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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MICKEY FURFARI

February 25, 2013

Column: Witting pays tribute to WVU

MORGANTOWN — Paul Witting, a New Jersey native, had a ready answer when asked whether he enjoyed playing basketball at West Virginia in 1953 through 1956.

“All of the good things that happened in my life were a result of my going to WVU,” the 6-foot-7, 195-pound center said. “That’s the truth.”

Witting, who has lived in Michigan since 1975, played two years for coach Red Brown and his last two for coach Fred Schaus.

Witting contributed to records of 19-7 in 1952-53, 12-7 in 53-54, 19-11 in 54-55 and 21-9 in 1955-56. He served as team captain in his senior season.

The Mountaineers won Southern Conference Championships Wittings’ last two years and earned automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament both years.

It was as a freshman Witting played in his most memorable game. He scored 17 points and pulled down 14 offensive rebounds, leading WVU to an 89-86 victory over Richmond on Feb. 17, 1953 in the Old Field House (now known as Stansbury Hall).

“Keep in mind that I was a freshman,” Witting stated. “I also got to some defensive rebounds. But only Mark Workman had more rebounds (15) in the school’s history.”

Witting, who’s now 78, has been retired 20 years. He spent 30 years selling office furniture for a large company which treated him very well.

He was pleased with his career. The firm he worked for was named Steel Case Co.

Witting recalled that WVU invited him as a senior in Union (N.J.) High School to sit on its bench when the Mountaineers upset nationally ranked NYU 100-75 on Jan. 3, 1952 in Madison Square Garden.

He also remembers the Penn State game he played in because it was led by a two-sport All-American African American athlete Jesse Arnelle was a center in basketball and an end in football.

Paul and wife Jian have been married for 55 years. She is a Charleston, W.Va., native who also graduated in 1956. She got a degree in economics and taught in school.

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MICKEY FURFARI