Kerry Marbury, a record-setting running back at West Virginia University in the 1970s, died Sunday in Fairmont at the age of 67. For several years, Marbury served as a professor at Fairmont State before retiring.
He helped Monongah capture back-to-back Class A state football championships in 1968-69 and was a high school teammate of current Alabama coach Nick Saban, who remained a lifelong friend.
Marbury set a WVU single-game rushing record of 291 yards against Temple in 1971, a record that has since been broken. He started for two seasons with the Mountaineers before electing to turn pro before his senior season and played in the Canadian Football League for Toronto and Ottawa.
He also had a memorable kickoff return of 100 yards for a touchdown to open the game against Penn State in 1972. During a 2014 interview with the Gazette-Mail, Marbury reflected on that play.
“Every week somebody reminds me of that,” he said, grinning. “It’s amazing. I didn’t know how good I was as an athlete.
“It wasn’t until 40 years later I realized it when people say, ‘Are you the Kerry Marbury?’ It’s just amazing to me. Because like Al Bundy always used to say, ‘I scored [four] touchdowns in a game for Polk High back in ’60.’ And I’m thinking, my gosh, people are really into sports to remember from that long ago, 40 years. But it makes me happy that made their day. They remember me very vividly and it brings joy to their life bringing them back to that day.’’
Before he starred at WVU, Marbury was a three-sport standout at Monongah High in Marion County, excelling in football, basketball and track.
In track, he was the high-point winner in both the 1969 and 1970 state meets at Laidley Field in Charleston, setting a record of 21.9 seconds in the 220-yard dash in 1970. Marbury returned to Laidley Field in 2014 to help commemorate the SSAC’s 100th state meet.
Marbury continued to run track at WVU even after he was recruited to play football, which was unusual at the time.
“When I went to WVU, it was unheard of for football players to run track,’’ Marbury said in a 2014 interview, “and they allowed me to run indoor and outdoor track. I didn’t like lifting weights, and that’s what football players did in the off-season. I hated weights, but they allowed me to run indoor and outdoor track, and I loved it.’’