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Mark Martin's Notepad

State Football Legends Join Forces On Radio
September 24, 2013

Mark Martin My parents said to me many times, “You should be seen and not heard.”

A pair of state coaching legends is going to be heard and not seen each Monday throughout the remainder of the 2013 football season.

While Don Nehlen and Bob Pruett are still quite visible in a variety of ways, the two are going to beam out over the airwaves on some West Virginia radio stations in the coming weeks. The show will originate from the studios of 58 WCHS in Charleston. It will air from 7:06 to 8 p.m.

Pruett teased Nehlen prior to the debut of “The Don Nehlen and Bob Pruett Show” last Monday in the capital city.

“Don was late because he was combing his hair for radio,” Pruett laughed.
Nehlen fired back, “You just wish you had some to comb.”

Barbs such as those will be mixed in with a lot of football talk during the show, which will be hosted by the popular Dave Weekley.

“We’re good friends and we’ll get together and laugh and giggle a little bit,” said the always-smiling Pruett. “Maybe we’ll get out and see some high school games and talk about them and talk about college games. (We) really just (want to) give the people another perspective of what two old coaches have to say about college athletics.”

Pruett served as Marshall’s head football coach from the seasons of 1996 through 2004. In that span, he won a national 1-AA championship, bowl games and had two undefeated teams.

The Beckley native helped take what was already a growing program to a new level.

Nehlen, who grew up in the football hotbed of Canton, Ohio, was WVU’s football leader from the seasons of 1980-2000 and also sent the program skyward. While in charge of the Mountaineers, Nehlen, too, had a pair of undefeated teams, won bowl games and was on the brink of two national titles. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

“This will be fun,” said Nehlen of the radio show. “Bob can cover one part of the state and I can cover the other and it will be fun. It’s not a new venture for us; it’s just a new venture with us together.”

Nehlen continues to live in Morgantown while Pruett resides outside of Huntington in Barboursville.

Weekley covered the programs of the two coaches for many years. In addition, he’s done television games with both working as his color analyst.
“I’ve always thought that this was a good idea to have a show like this. I think the thing that makes this show great potentially is the chemistry Don and Bob have together,” Weekley said.

Together, the two were a part of possibly the state’s greatest sports spectacle ever when WVU and Marshall played each other in 1997 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown. It was the first meeting between the two schools since the season of 1923.

West Virginia won the season opener, 42-31, on a muggy August 30 that year. The game featured an array of future NFL players.

“Bob had a really good team. We were a pretty good team and a lot of those kids (went to the NFL). The two (for Marshall) I remember the best were that daggone quarterback (Chad Pennington) and wide receiver (Randy Moss),” said Nehlen, who went in to the game that day with the likes of quarterback Marc Bulger, who moved on to the pros, and running back Amos Zereoue, who lugged the football at the next level.

“There were a lot of great players in that game,” said Pruett. “Coach Nehlen had a bunch of them, but we had some great players, too. People ask me sometimes and I tell them that was the most fun game I ever played or coached.”

Now together, Pruett and Nehlen can have fun each week talking about the game that was so good to them and one they still love.


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