William & Mary, Cato, Luck, Switzer and Hereford
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- William & Mary is in town today to play West Virginia's Mountaineers, and there's a strong state tie in the Tribe's recent basketball history.
One of the best players to play on the historic Williamsburg, Va., campus was guard David Schneider, a senior on the 2009-10 Tribe team that won 22 games. Schneider is just one of two players in William & Mary history to score 1,400 points, grab 400 rebounds and have 300 assists. He also won the CAA's basketball leadership award that season.
Schneider is the son of Jeff Schneider, a schoolboy legend from Clarksburg Washington Irving High School. As a junior in 1977, he lit up the state tournament at the old Charleston Civic Center with his scoring and led his team to the state championship game, where they lost to Willie Akers, Vic Herbert and Logan. Schneider went on to play at Virginia Tech.
ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Danny Kanell has been talking about Cato for a while. On Friday, studio analyst Mark May took notice. Now the Bleacher Report and others are on board. On Twitter, during the game, CBS college football columnist Dennis Dodd, one of the most-read college football writers in the country, also raved about Cato's play.
Cato will now be on the fringe of the Heisman talk in August and early September. As the 2014 season plays out, if he stays healthy, Cato will have a chance to move up the discussion ladder. He should put up eye-popping numbers against a revamped Conference USA similar to past quarterback winners Andre Ware and Robert Griffin III. Those numbers, coupled with team wins, could allow him to become Marshall's third Heisman invitee to New York in the last 20 years.
Marshall coach Doc Holliday has assembled a team that would probably beat the Tar Heels right now, and wide receiver Tommy Shuler is only the eighth receiver in major-college football history to have back-to-back 100-catch seasons. Can you imagine adding Switzer to the stable of receivers in Bill Legg's offense?
Hereford was a 1965 graduate of St. Albans High School who then joined the Air Force and became a world-class marathon runner. He competed in the 1968 and 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials against eventual gold medalist Frank Shorter.
Hereford ran the Boston Marathon four times and once held the North Carolina marathon record. He taught school in eastern North Carolina for almost 30 years before retiring in 2003 and returning to St. Albans.
At Hereford's funeral, legendary St. Albans basketball coach Tex Williams recalled that he also coached boys cross country for the Red Dragons. Since he knew little about training distance runners, he had asked Hereford to design a training program for him. Following Hereford's plan, Williams laid the foundation for a St. Albans cross country program that won state championships in 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1976.
It was not headline news when our area lost Hereford on Dec. 15, but he was an important part of our state's athletic history.
Reach Frank Giardina at email@example.com.