Fairmont State University joined the state of West Virginia in mourning the loss of a Falcon legend, men’s basketball coach Joe Retton on Oct. 10, 2018. Today, Retton’s impact was recognized on the floor of the West Virginia Senate when Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, introduced a resolution to commemorate his life and legacy.
“It’s a fitting tribute to a man who loved, gave so much and will forever be remembered as part of athletic history at Fairmont State University and the State of West Virginia,” Senator Prezioso said. “Coach Retton made a difference in the lives of countless young men and women. The contributions he made to both Fairmont State and West Virginia will resonate for generations, and his spirit will truly live forever. I’m deeply humbled to be able to play a part in honoring such a wonderful man, father, husband, teacher, and coach.”
Retton was the head men’s basketball coach for the Falcons from 1963-82, compiling a record of 478-95 in his 19 seasons on the Fairmont State bench. During his tenure, Retton led the Falcons to 12 West Virginia Conference regular season titles and eight tournament championships.
“The excellence that Coach Retton demonstrated on and off the court permeates the halls of our University,” said Fairmont State President Dr. Mirta M. Martin. “The Falcon family celebrates his legacy alongside our entire state today.”
Senate Resolution 28 was introduced by Senators Prezioso, Jeffries, Stollings, Baldwin, Plymale, Palumbo, Hardesty, Beach, Swope and Hamilton. It commemorates the life and career of Coach Joe Retton, husband, father, coach, veteran and dedicated public servant.
Representatives from the Retton family, the Fairmont State Board of Governors, Fairmont State Athletic Association, and Fairmont State leadership were in attendance including Athletic Director Chad Fowler.
“The rich basketball tradition at Fairmont State began during Joe’s time as head coach of our men’s basketball program,” said Fowler. “His record and honors on the court are just a small part of what Joe means to the entire Fairmont State community.”
Retton earned numerous Coach of the Year honors during his time at Fairmont State, including twice as NAIA National Coach of the Year (1969, 1976). He also earned Associated Press Small College Coach of the Year in 1976, and was a six-time WVIAC Coach of the Year. He was a six-time NAIA District 28 Coach of the Year. He coached nine of Fairmont State’s 12 All-Americans in program history. Retton is a 1987 inductee into the NAIA Hall of Fame, and was also selected to the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame in 1988. He was inducted into Fairmont State’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1993.