CHARLESTON– Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, today introduced a resolution to commemorate the life and legacy of legendary Fairmont coach, Joe Retton.
Retton passed away on October 10, 2018, at the age of 87. A lifelong, dedicated public servant, he was born in Grant Town and was a three-sport standout at Fairview High School.
After serving in Korea with the U.S. Army, he returned to his native Marion County and began his teaching and coaching career at Barrackville High School, where his basketball team won a state championship. In 1963, he became the head men’s basketball coach at Fairmont State University, where throughout his 19 seasons he amazed a winning percentage of .836 – the highest winning percentage of any coach in the nation at any level. In his career with the Falcons, he led the team to 12 West Virginia Conference regular season titles and eight tournament championships and was twice named NAIA National Coach of the Year. He is a 1987 inductee into the NAIA Hall of Fame, a 1988 inductee in to the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame and became an inaugural member of the Fairmont State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.
“It’s a fitting tribute to a man who loved, gave so much and will forever be remembered as part of athletic history at Fairmont State University and the State of West Virginia,” Senator Prezioso said. “Coach Retton made a difference in the lives of countless young men and women. The contributions he made to both Fairmont State and West Virginia will resonate for generations, and his spirit will truly live forever. I’m deeply humbled to be able to play a part in honoring such a wonderful man, father, husband, teacher, and coach.”
Coach Retton’s son, Fairmont Senior High School football coach David Retton, accepted the Resolution on the family’s behalf. Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta Martin, Vice President for Student Affairs Tim McNeely, Athletics Director Chad Fowler, Presidential and Legislative Scholar Alyssa Welling; Former Fairmont State men’s basketball coaches Joe Lambiotte and Dave Cooper, and Mike Arcure, who was an assistant under Retton, Dr. Budd Sapp, a Fairmont State Board of Governors member and professor, and former player for Coach Retton, and George Levitsky also appeared in the Senate Chamber to accept the honor.
Senators Glenn Jeffries, D-Kanawha; Ron Stollings, D-Boone; Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier; Robert Plymale, D-Wayne; Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha; Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, Bob Beach, D-Monongalia; Chandler Swope, R-Mercer; and Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, were co-sponsors of the resolution.
Video of today’s Resolution is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=983KrCqVDOE.
High-resolution photos from today’s Resolution presentation can be found here: https://westvirginialegislature.zenfolio.com/p595955586.