MORGANTOWN-Larry Krutko was an outstanding fullback on West Virginia's football teams of 1955-56-57.
The Carmichaels, Pa., native also played linebacker on defense. During that period, the NCAA required the first year participation on a freshmen team.
Krutko, whose nickname was "Stubby," now is 76 and resides in Waynesburg, Pa., with his wife of 55 years, the former Betty Bell.
They own and operate a longtime wholesale grocery business with children Mary, Larry Jr., John and Andy. It now is located at Mt. Morris, Pa.
"I loved my four years at WVU," Krutko recalled recently. "I was 6-foot-1 and weighted about 205. Today fullbacks are much bigger, heaver and faster."
He helped Coach Art "Pappy" Lewis' Mountaineers to records of 8-2, 6-4, and 7-2-1. They won the Southern Conference championship two years. WVU played just three conference terms his senior season and did not qualify for the league title.
Two winning games stick out in Krutko's mind.
One was in 1956 against Texas, 7-6, in Austin. He scored the team's only touchdown on a 14-yard run and he said Whitey Mikanik kicked the extra point.
The other win he recalled was also a 7-6 nail biter against old rival Pitt in 1957 at Pittsburg.
On the trip to Texas, Krutko remembers that the Mountaineers flew in a DC-9 plane that had four propellers. There were no jets yet.
"I also remember that I called defense signals in the win over Texas," he said. "They had a great team with a great running back who later was a millionaire."
Krutko also contributed to victories over Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest twice.
For his three seasons, Krutko rushed 297 times for 1,407 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught 6 passes for 59 yards.
In 1955, he rushed 73 times for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 1956, he carried 124 times for 584 yards and 4 scores.
In 1957, he rushed for 403 yards on 100 carries and tallied 5 touchdowns.
His career highs were 21 rushes against George Washington in 1955, 120 rushing yards against Penn State in 1956, and 12 touchdowns in as many games.
"We all played both ways in those days," Krutko reiterated. "And as I look back, it was more fun than I recognized then that it was."
"Those were good, old days that we enjoyed very much."
He played in a college all-star football game after his senior year before receiving his degree from WVU.
At Carmichaels High School, Krutko was a halfback who did nearly all of the running.
He earned All-WPIAL honors two years and All-America prep status as a senior.
"I don't think we realized then how fortunate we were," Krutko added. "Most of us were from West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania and got along great together."