WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Shelly Poe
The late Sam Littlepage was the 1938 NCAA boxing champion at 165 pounds, and helped WVU earn a three-way tie of the national team title that year (shared with Virginia and Catholic).
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Littlepage was one of only three Mountaineer boxers to win a national title during the history of the boxing program from 1930-60; others were his 1938 teammate heavyweight Ashby Dickerson and 1936 115-pounder Mickey Brutto. Littlepage was the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference champion at 155 pounds in 1936 and at 165 in 1938, and served as team captain his senior year for Coach Eddie Vacheresse.
A native of Charleston, W.Va., after completing his bachelor's degree at WVU and ROTC training, he served in the U.S. Army (1940-46) during World War II. Littlepage, who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, saw action on Saipan, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and was decorated with the Purple Heart for his service as a tank division commander. After the war, he returned to WVU to attend law school. Following graduation, Littlepage, whose family can count five generations of West Virginia lawyers and judges, joined a family firm in Point Pleasant. Also the Mason County prosecuting attorney later in his career, he remained in private practice there until his death in 1974 at age 58.
An avid hunter and marksman, Littlepage was shot in the left leg in a hunting accident when he was 12 years old. Although amputation was considered, his family sent him to the Mayo Clinic, where he recovered for six months and taught himself tennis while still wheelchair-bound. After high school, he attended the Kentucky Military School, where he began to show promise as a boxer.
He was active in encouraging athletics and was one of the founders of a tennis program in the Point Pleasant community; Littlepage himself was tennis champion at Edgewood Country Club in Charleston. Littlepage and his wife, the former Jean Cole, had five children – Kemp, Samuel II, Stephen, Alison and Jennifer - and 13 grandchildren.