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Basketball Coach Leland Byrd Suddenly Died at the Age of 94

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Sadly, a former WVU AD passed away. Leland Byrd died at the age of 94. He was the fifth Director of Athletics at West Virginia University. Dr. Leland Byrd earned three degrees from WVU, including his doctorate in 1967.

He served as WVU’s AD from 1972 to 1979. His time leading the Mountaineer athletic programs came in the middle of a 30-year tenure in athletics administration.

Dr. Byrd was the men’s basketball coach at Glenville State College from 1955 to 1966 and the Glenville State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012. Leland performed as athletic director at GSC for his final five years with the Pioneers.

He served as an assistant AD and served as athletic director at Miami Dade (North and South campuses) before returning to WVU for the next six years.

Leland Byrd sadly passed away
Basketball coach Leland Byrd has died at the age of 94

Leland’s tenure as WVU’s AD coincided with Bobby Bowden’s time as head football coach. In 1978, he hired Gale Catlett as men’s basketball head coach.

He became the executive director of the Eastern Eight, a group that eventually became the Atlantic 10 Conference in 1979. Dr. Byrd left the A-10 to become athletic director at Western Michigan in 1984. In 1992, he retired from athletics administration.

In addition to his various roles in intercollegiate athletics, Byrd was an accomplished basketball player. The 6-foot-3 guard was a thousand-point scorer with the Mountaineers and helped them to multiple NIT appearances. Byrd earned All-America status as a junior in 1947. He was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

He also launched his coaching career at Hinton High School prior to moving to Glenville State two seasons later in 1953.

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Reactions to Leland Byrd’s Death

Several fans, friends, and supporters reacted and stated their condolences on social media websites following this tragic news.

WVU CPASS wrote on Twitter: “We extend our sincere condolences to family and friends of Dr. Leland Byrd, CPASS (then School of PE) graduate, Hall of Fame inductee, and outstanding alumnus. Dr. Byrd’s contributions and devotion to WVU will always be remembered. #HailWV”

WVU Men’s Basketball tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Dr. Leland Byrd. Byrd was the first 1,000-point scorer in WVU history and a member of the inaugural WVU Sports Hall of Fame induction class in 1991.”

One wrote: “Very saddened by the news of the passing of former WVU AD Leland Byrd! Had the pleasure of working for him with the old Eastern 8 basketball league! He was a class act! RIP!!”

E. Gordon Gee also tweeted: “Leland Byrd was more than a standout student-athlete, more than an innovative director of Athletics creating countless opportunities for our University. My thoughts are with his wife, Elizabeth, and his five daughters. He was a true Mountaineer and will be forever missed.”

Please kindly scroll down and use the comment box to share your feelings about the heartbreaking news for tributes and prayers. Please keep in mind that the family needs privacy; please respect them during this difficult time.

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