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Jerry West ‘Mr. Clutch’ dies at 86  

In many ways, it was Jerry West who put West Virginia University on the map in NCAA sports. His choice of WVU after an impressive high school career came from the heart, which had always belonged to his home state.

| June 12, 2024

He turned down the power houses of the day, Kansas and Maryland, to make the move to Morgantown, which seemed like a big city in comparison to his Cabin Creek roots, and he felt most at home on the basketball court. 

West set a dozen school records in 93 games and was named an All-American twice in his WVU career. WVU’s record in his four years was 81-12, and in spite of a WVU loss in the 1959 NCAA Championship game, he was named the MVP. 

He was co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which earned a gold medal. It was a moment West felt defined his career. 

While his college days were close to home, his professional career was far afield. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted him just after the OIympics, and during the next 14 years West played in 932 games. The team made the playoffs 13 times and won the 1972 NBA title. West was named to 14 All -Star teams and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. 

Earning the nickname “Mr. Clutch,” he was the player his coaches counted on to make big plays and his likeness is the model for the NBA logo. 

Off the court, he coached the Lakers for three seasons and later served as a scout, then General Manager, retiring in 2002. 

jerry west with his jerseys on the basketball court

Jerry West's number was retired in 2005.

Known simply as “the logo” because his silhouette serves as the iconic symbol for the NBA, West garnered admiration and respect throughout his life. His gifts on the court and in the C-suite were only outmatched by his generosity to all, love for the Mountain State and his alma mater.

West died June 12, 2024, at his home. 

Read statements from WVU President Gordon Gee and University vice president and Director of Athletics Wren Baker. 

Read more about Jerry West’s legendary career from John Antonik.

Download a video about Jerry West's love for WVU.

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June 12, 2024

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