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Hundley remembers Barrett as a pioneer

June 20, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - Hot Rod Hundley remembers the deceased Eddie Barrett as a fine pioneer sports publicist when he was an all-time basketball great at West Virginia University.

That was in the glorious 1950s when Barrett was the Mountaineers' lone Sports Publicity Director.

"He was really the first guy they brought in (at age 20) and Eddie did a great job getting national as well as statewide publicity," Hundley said of Barrett, who died last Friday, June 15, in Huntington.

"We all were fond of Eddie," Hot Rod said. "Rene Henry took over for Eddie for two years while he served in the U.S. Air Force, and Rene did a great job also."

Funeral services for Barrett will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Presbyterian Church in Huntington. The family received friends on Tuesday evening at the Klingel Carpenter Mortuary in Huntington.

"Rene and Eddie saw that we all got good exposure while I was there," Hundley said. "It started with Mark Workman (in basketball). Then I played in 1955-56-57, Jerry West in 1958-60, and Rod Thorn the next three years."

Athletes during that era had to play the first year on a freshman team. But West and Hundley still hold most school basketball records with three-year statistics.

Scoring and rebounding were the major contributions from both of those legendary superstars.

Those in football and baseball were afforded similar treatment, publicity-wise, according to Hot Rod, who is 78 and now resides in Phoenix, Ariz.

In all, Barrett served 16 years as WVU's chief publicist for all athletics. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is obviously far more staffed than it was in Eddie Barrett's tenure.

"He was well-prepared for the position", Hundley noted. "He was writing sports stories for the Fairmont Times while in high school."

After resigning at WVU, Barrett became athletic director for three years at Marshall. He resigned in July of 1970.

He served several years as general manager of the Pepsi Bottling Co. in Huntington. He also excelled in the insurance business.

Eddie and wife Betty had five children and 11 grandchildren.

The couple were honored numerous times by WVU and WVU Foundation for being among the institutions top supporters financially.



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