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Fred A. Schaus

Fred A. Schaus (‘49 BS, ‘53 MS)

Fred A. Schaus was born in Newark, Ohio, and served three years in the U.S. Navy before entering West Virginia University. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1949 and a master’s degree in physical education in 1953.

As a student at WVU, he earned three letters as a member of the Mountaineer basketball team, while remaining an honor student and serving as student body president and captain of the 1947-48 and 1948-49 squads.

Upon graduation, Schaus began a five year stint in the National Basketball Association. In 1949, he joined the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons as a rookie and was their first player to score 1,000 points in a season. In 1953, he was traded to the New York Knickerbockers who captured the Eastern Division Championship that season.

He returned to WVU in 1954 to coach the Mountaineer basketball team. In his six years as coach, his teams posted a 146-37 record en route to a Southern Conference championship each year. His 1959 team, led by Jerry West, reached the NCAA title game before losing to California by one point. As a result, he was named UPI Coach of the Year.

In 1960, Schaus left WVU to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. His teams captured four Western Division championships while posting a 315-245 record during his seven years. In 1967, he became the Laker’s general manager, putting together a team that included basketball greats Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, who capped that season with an NBA World Championship.

He went to Purdue University as head basketball coach in 1972 and two years later his team captured the NIT championship. In 1979, he became Purdue’s associate athletic director in charge of facilities and personnel.

Schaus returned to WVU again in 1981 as athletic director. Under his leadership, the Mountaineer football team participated in six post season bowl games including the 1989 Fiesta Bowl for the national championship. The Mountaineer basketball team made five NCAA tournament appearances and captured three Atlantic 10 championships. Other varsity sports – such as the WVU Rifle team, which captured four NCAA championships – distinguished themselves on the national level in NCAA competition during Schaus’ tenure.

He also played an instrumental role in the expansion of both Mountaineer Field and the Mylan Puskar Center making it one of the finest college football complexes in the nation.

Schaus served on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee for Division I; the board of directors of the College Football Association; and as second vice president of the National Association of College Directos of Athletics. He retired in June of 1989.

Schaus was inducted in the WVU School of Physical Education Hall of Fame in 1988 and was named Outstanding Alumnus of the School in 1993. He was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. That same year, he received the University’s highest honor for service, the Order of Vandalia.

Mr. Schaus passed away in 2010.