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Snapper still ‘amazed’ by kicker’s five field goals

August 11, 2011
MICKEY FURFARI FAN-FARE

MORGANTOWN - Tom Kucer most certainly remembers West Virginia University's 15-0 shutout of old rival Pitt on Oct. 7, 1967, at Old Mountaineer Field.

How could he ever forget that fantastic feat by Ken Juskowich! Kucer was the center who snapped the ball for each of the record five field goals (well-spaced from 32, 33, 25, 30, and 35 yards).

"Looking back on that game now, I think the thing that amazes me most is that Kenny was one of a very few soccer-style kickers at the time in the country. I mean, Juskowich was way ahead of his time.

"Maybe there was one in the NFL or something like that. I don't think anybody else had a soccer-style kicker back then.

"As a matter of fact, when I left, a guy who kicked straight out took over. So that was a special time because, again, Kenny was ahead of his time."

He recalled that the 1967 contest was quite interesting, but unusual. WVU was gaining punch on offense, though bogging down within shouting distance of the end zone.

"But Kenny came through for us when he had to, and it was a really good victory for us," Kucer said.

Kucer was recruited by the late Ed Shockey and played under him on WVU's freshman team in 1965. His other three years were with the varsity team.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D. W.Va., was one of his teammates until Joe suffered a career-ending injury.

Statistics weren't kept yet in the 1960s. But being a center, Kucer said he didn't have many anyway.

He added, "I was just happy to play some." He played at about only 215 pounds on Jack Fligg's trimmed-down offensive line.

Kucer enjoyed playing football for head coach Jim Carlen (1966-69).

"I think he did a lot for the football program," he said. "He got us going in the right direction. He laid a lot of ground work for the program."

The legendary Bobby Bowden, the offensive coordinator, still is highly adored by Kucer. "I've always said that Bobby Bowden is 'what you see is what you get.'

"He's just a fantastic man."

The Wintersville, Ohio, native graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in Physical Education. He was a team captain as a senior, then returned to WVU in 1969 to help coach the freshman team.

Kucer then settled in Virginia and from 1970-79, he coached and taught in high schools - seven years as a head coach.

"I enjoyed coaching but not the other stuff that went with it," he said.

From coaching, Kucer worked in sales for a large company until it was sold to a competitor. Then he started a business of his own.

"My wife and I worked in it," Kucer explained. "We were business forms distributors. I did the selling and she worked in the office.

"We retired about five years ago and sold the business."

Kucer and wife Julie, who also is a WVU graduate, were married in 1970. They now reside in Canaan Valley.

Their daughter, Jennifer Lanthaler, has three children. Those are Isabel, 13; Brock, 11; and Mitch, 7.

"They're beautiful, and all three are Mountaineer fans already," the proud grandfather said.

 
 

 

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