Eddie Bartrug, Bob Greshman, Roy Lester, Lowes Moore, Dr. Martin Pushkin and James Sottile will be inducted Oct. 4 prior to the home football game against Rutgers and bring the number of total inductees to 115.
Bartug saw varsity action at two positions as a member of the football team from 1928-30, earning three varsity letters. The punter and halfback was named one of the best punters from that era by head football coach and player, Ira Errett Rodgers. The New Martinsville, W.Va., native helped the Mountaineers to a 17-10-3 record during his three years, including five shutouts in his first season. The 1928 team (8-2) defeated Pitt 9-6 for the first time in four years. Bartrug was crucial in the win, catching a 47-yard pass to set up the only WVU touchdown in the contest.
He was named to the 1930-39 all-time team and the victory over Pitt was selected as one of the greatest victories from that decade. In 1934, Bartrug married his wife, Jeannette, and had two children, Lea Anne and Edwin. After his Mountaineer career, Bartrug taught math and was the head football coach at Mount Hope High (1932-39) and St. Albans High (1940-48). He then moved to Charleston and taught and coached at Charleston High (1949-54) before he became principal at Marmet Junior High (1955-72). He was a member of the WVU Alumni Association Emeritus Club and served as president. Bartrug was also an officer for the Kanawha County Football Officials Association for 32 years.
After his retirement in 1973, Bartrug became a high school football and track official in Charleston. He enjoyed gardening and collecting stamps and coins. Bartrug died at age 87 on Feb. 7, 1996.
Gresham was a three-year letterman and starting running back on the football team from 1968-70. He set the school's single-season rushing record of 1,155 yards in 1969, a record that stood for 24 years. The Big Creek native also helped the Mountaineers to a 25-7 record, which included the 1969 Peach Bowl Championship.
For his WVU career, Gresham rushed for 2,181 yards on 417 carries with 18 touchdowns. At the time, his career rushing totals were a school record. He also tallied nine 100-yard rushing performances, none better than his 173 yards on 33 carries in WVU's 33-21 home victory over Richmond on Nov. 15, 1969. He also recorded 30 career receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns, tallied 12 punt returns for 103 yards and amassed 588 kickoff return yards on 23 attempts. Gresham currently ranks 10th all-time on WVU's career rushing and rushing touchdowns lists.
The back was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the eighth round of the 1971 National Football League (NFL) draft. He played six seasons with three different NFL teams: Saints, Houston Oilers and New York Jets. As a pro, he started as a rookie and shared the Saints' outstanding rookie award in 1971, leading the team in rushing with 383 yards and six touchdowns. He also led the team with 381 rushing yards and three touchdowns in 1972. As a Saint, he earned four offensive player of the week honors. Gresham joined the Oilers in 1973 and led the team in rushing with 400 yards and two touchdowns. He joined the Jets in 1975 and ran for 190 yards over two seasons, sharing the same backfield with Joe Namath. For his NFL career, Gresham played in 75 contests, recording 1,360 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Upon his retirement from the NFL, Gresham became an assistant football coach/teaching assistant at Garinger High in Charlotte, N.C., for two years from 1977-78. Since 1978, he has served as the recreation center director/facility manager for the Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation Department in Charlotte. He has also been involved in numerous community service initiatives such as Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Right Moves for Youth Program, to name a few.
Gresham earned his bachelor's of science degree in physical education from West Virginia University in 1972. He has been married to Joyce Sloan Gresham for 36 years, and the couple has three children: Robert Gresham Jr., Lakeisha Gresham Githae and Jerrick Gresham. The couple also has three grandchildren: Robert Gresham III, McKenna Gresham and Brayden Githae.
Lester, a native of Spencer, W.Va., was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and baseball from 1946-49. One of the few three-sport lettermen, he served as a center on the basketball team, played 21 games and scored 27 points in his career. Lester also was an end for the Mountaineers' 1949 Sun Bowl team under the direction of head coach Dudley S. DeGroot. Throughout his career on the football team, he had 16 receptions for 259 yards and two touchdowns. As an outfielder for the baseball team, Lester lettered from 1947-49. In his final two seasons, Lester collected 53 hits and held a .339 batting average.
After graduating from WVU with a degree in political science, Lester went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles' farm team, the Paterson Panthers, in New Jersey in 1949. In 1950, he began his coaching career with a two-year stint at Walton High, in Walton, W.Va., and then moved to Allegany High in Cumberland, Md. From 1958-68, Lester was head coach at Richard Montgomery High, in Rockville, Md., where he posted an impressive 86-10-1 record. At the completion of his final season in 1968, he held a record of 25-consecutive victories.
After a remarkable coaching career at the high school level, Lester was hired as head coach at Maryland in 1969 and served in that capacity for three years. He also served as assistant coach with the Terrapins for three seasons. Lester resides in Gaithersburg, Md. He has four children: three boys, Roy Jr., Chris and Tommy, and one girl, Amy.
This is the first of a two-part installment on the 2008 WVU Sports Hall of Fame Class. Check back shortly for the latter portion on BlueGoldNews.com.