WHEELING, W.Va. - The winningest football coach in Marshall University history and the only Mountain State native inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame are the 2014 additions to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Bob Pruett and Fern Lee "Peachy" Kellmeyer will be inducted by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association at the 68th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 4 at the Charleston Civic Center.
From 1996-2004, Pruett guided his alma mater to unprecedented heights in football, including a school-record 94 wins (against just 23 losses), a 15-0 record and Division 1-AA national championship in 1996, five straight bowl wins, six conference titles and three Top 25 national rankings, including No. 10 in a 13-0 1999 season.
"It doesn't get any better than to be honored by your home state," Pruett said when notified of the award. "This means very much to me and I'm very thankful and humbled."
The Beckley native, who was a four-sport athlete at Woodrow Wilson High School, a three-year letterman in three sports at Marshall - football, wrestling and track, and a regular two-way back and tight end in football. After a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, he played five years of semi-pro football in Virginia while coaching high school football at four schools from 1965-78.
He started a 27-year college coaching career in 1979 with a four-year stint on the Marshall staff followed by seven years at Wake Forest and two each at Mississippi, Tulane and Florida before returning to Marshall in 1996 for his first and only head-coaching position. He had served nine previous years as a defensive coordinator. After retiring from Marshall in 2004, he returned for a final year on the sidelines in 2008 as the defensive coordinator at Virginia.
Pruett coached several future NFL players at Marshall, including Heisman Trophy finalists in Randy Moss and Chad Pennington. In postseason playoff, championship or bowl games, his record was 18-3.
Pruett earned several national and state honors and awards, including a record four straight all-sports West Virginia College Coach of the Year awards from 1996-99 and four national Coach of the Year honors for 1996, 1997 and 1999. He was the Huntington Herald-Dispatch Citizen of the Year for 1998 and inducted into the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
He is the third Marshall coach inducted into the Hall. Others are the late Cam Henderson and Jule Rivlin.