WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Bryan Messerly
Gene Lathey was a three-year starting offensive guard and linebacker on the Mountaineer football team from 1954-56.
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Playing for coach Art “Pappy” Lewis, Lathey helped West Virginia to 8-1, 8-2 and 6-4 records and three Southern Conference championships.
Lathey made the All-Southern Conference teams in each of his three seasons. He also is a member of the WVU all-time team for 1950-59.
Lathey is most remembered for his performance during West Virginia’s 26-6 upset at nationally ranked South Carolina in the 1954 season opener. His injury during the 1955 game at Pitt was one of the contributing factors in WVU losing that game and an opportunity to earn a Sugar Bowl bid.
He was named to the Woodward magazine All-South Team in 1956 and also was tabbed a Boys’ Life magazine All-American in 1956. Lathey earned recognition as a preseason All-American from United Press Radio in 1956.
In high school at Dunbar High, Lathey was named most valuable team player and Charleston Gazette Player of the Week. He played in the 1952 North-South All-Star game, lining up against WVU All-American Sam Huff.
A native of Dunbar, W.Va., Lathey received his degree from WVU in 1957 before serving in the United States Army following graduation. He has been a long-time owner of an insurance agency in Ripley, W.Va.
Lathey and his wife, Christine, have been married for 53 years. They have two daughters, Gina and Gail, and four grandchildren.