Mott Honored by Marshall University
Making a transition from high school to college is always tough, but to go from one of the smallest schools in your state to a major university is seldom heard of.
That, however, is exactly what happened back in 1956 when local basketball legend Lou Mott signed a scholarship offer to play basketball for the Marshall University Thundering Herd.
Mott grew up in the Pine Grove area of Wetzel County, where he graduated from high school. Growing up in that area of the county was something very special to Lou.
“Back in the 1950’s we had several different high schools in the area. We were all rivals, and we knew each other very well. We had Reader, Jacksonburg, Smithfield, Wallace and Pine Grove, all within 20 minutes of each other,” said Mott. “I am just thrilled to be a part of that era.”
On Saturday, January 20, prior to Marshall University’s men’s basketball game with the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), Mott was awarded a Marshall University Academic Achievement Certificate by Taresa Eagle, Dean of the College of Education.
Mott has had some impressive awards before, including being recognized as a legend of the OVAC Hall of Fame with the 2015 class. The “Legends” class recognizes athletes and coaches prior to the inception of the OVAC in 1946, or while their schools were not members of the conference.
More recently, Mott was honored by Valley High School, which is located in Pine Grove and is a consolidation of all the former schools of the area. A metal banner now hangs in the school gymnasium, in his honor, while listing his accomplishments.
As a youngster growing up in the back area of the county, Lou made quite the name for himself. His passion was sports, basketball in particular, but many say he was just as good on the baseball diamond where he was a four year pitcher/shortstop and played American Legion ball.
Mott scored 2,117 points during his high school career at Pine Grove, and as a junior, he averaged 29.4 points per game, which included a 51-point output in a 127-58 win over Wallace. In his senior year, he scored 693 points in 21 games.
His 33-point scoring average his senior year was the third highest in the state, behind the Legendary Hot Rod Hundley’s 34.3 and New Cumberland legend Jack Thayer’s 33.95.
Mott’s career point total broke the state mark of 1956 by Hot Rod Hundley of Charleston.
Mott became the first 2,000 point scorer in Mountain State History.
As a senior, he was selected Class B (smaller of the two then classes) First Team All-State and was chosen as the state player of the year.
Following his senior year, he was selected to play with the West Virginia and Ohio All-Star team, against the Kentucky All-Stars.
He then went on to play four years for Marshall University, where he competed against some of the nation’s best, including Cincinnati University and former NBA great Oscar Robinson.
“Making the transition from a small Class B high school to a Major University, like Marshall, was not easy,” said Mott. “I had to work extra hard and spent some time on the bench, which I wasn’t used to. My coaches and teammates picked me up and helped me along, which made me the player that I became. It was one of the most enjoyable times in my life, one I will never forget.”
At the award ceremony on Jan. 20, the always humble Lou gave thanks to the University for all they have done for him.
“I always enjoy coming back to Marshall and will continue to do so as long as I’m able,” said Mott.
The circumstances surrounding Mott’s award on Jan. 20 are not exactly known; however, it is known that he completed all the requirements necessary to graduate, but things beyond his control kept him from receiving his degree. All of that changed, however, on Saturday when he was given his honorary Academic Achievement Certificate, awarded by Marshall University.
Lou said he has received much recognition over the years, but this certificate stands as one of the greatest things to ever happen to him. “I will forever be thankful to all that Marshall University has done for me; without the opportunity to be a part of their athletic and academic team, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I just know this…they made my life much better.”