West Virginia State University Athletic Court to be Named for Mark Cardwell

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
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Nov. 15, 2013
West Virginia State University Athletic Court to be Named for Mark Cardwell
Coaching Legend led Yellow Jackets to Conference Championships in Football, Basketball
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The athletic court at West Virginia State University’s (WVSU) Fleming Hall will be dedicated to Mountain State coaching legend Mark Cardwell during a ceremony at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, prior to the Yellow Jackets men’s basketball season opener against Bluefield State College.

Cardwell was a long-time coach at WVSU in a variety of sports, including football and basketball. His teams won several conference championships during his tenure. Members of Cardwell’s family will be in attendance at Wednesday’s dedication ceremony, and former players have also been invited.

“Coach Cardwell dedicated much of his life to helping young people pursue and achieve their dreams on what is will soon be known as the Coach Mark Cardwell Court,” said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill.  “Whether at practice, during a game, or simply through everyday interactions around campus, Coach Cardwell’s passion for elevating young people to be their best was evident and we are happy to honor this son of State.”

After graduating from WVSU in 1925 where he was a two-time All-American in football, Cardwell went on to coach at Clarksburg Kelly Miller High School where, for the next 20 years, he led the school's football and basketball teams to numerous state titles.

He returned to Institute in 1945 as a professor and coached football, baseball, basketball, track and boxing.

At the time, West Virginia State competed in the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which later changed its name to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). The league featured 15 other Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Eastern part of the country.

His first Yellow Jacket boxing team captured the CIAA title and his first football team went undefeated on the way to capturing the CIAA crown. Cardwell later coached the Yellow Jackets to another CIAA title in football in 1951. He finished his football coaching career at West Virginia State with a record of 69-58-15, a .543 winning percentage.

He also coached West Virginia State’s men’s basketball team. In 1948, and 1949, the Yellow Jackets won the CIAA. His 1948 squad finished the season as the only unbeaten team in the country with a 30-0 record and was named national champions among historically black colleges. 

After joining the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) in 1955, Cardwell’s teams first made a major impact by winning the 1961 conference tournament. In 1963 they won the school’s first regular season WVIAC title.

He led the school’s basketball program for 19 years and finished with a career mark of 288-168.
Cardwell passed away on March 10, 1964. He was inducted into the WVSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Known as “The Pit” by many, the athletic court in Fleming Hall has been home to Yellow Jacket men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team. The building is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion project to become the Convocation Center at Fleming Hall that will feature additional classrooms, locker rooms, training areas and a new athletic court with seating for 1,300.

Once the Convocation Center opens in February 2014, the Mark Cardwell Court will continue to be utilized as a practice court by Yellow Jacket athletic teams.
Follow West Virginia State University on Facebook and Twitter @WVStateU.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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