Jack Marucci is coming home for Saturday’s high-profile football game involving his alma mater, West Virginia University, were he earned his degree from the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences in 1986.

But he won’t be wearing the Mountaineers’ trademark old gold and blue.

Jack Marucci

Instead, Marucci, who hails from nearby Uniontown, Pa., will be sporting the purple and gold of LSU, where he is director of athletic training.

“It will feel somewhat strange to be on opposite sidelines, but I have a job to do,” Marucci said. “Being away so long has allowed enough time for me to create space between the two universities.”

Before he heads off to Mountaineer Field for the nationally televised (ABC) 8 p.m. game between the No. 16 Mountaineers and the second-ranked Tigers, Marucci and carloads of LSU staff will stop at his brother’s house in Mt. Lebanon, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb, for an Italian feast including homemade pizza, pasta and sauces.

Then, it’ll be off to Morgantown, where he will try to distance himself from sentiment for a few hours Saturday, despite his strong feeling about WVU, which along with its athletic training program, he credits for his success.

WVU “gave me the opportunity to study at one of the best athletic training majors in the U.S.,” he said. “When you consider the expertise of the instructors and the stability of the program, it’s easy to see why it is one of the top programs in the country. People from all over the country apply to the WVU AT program,”

Marucci sees similarities between WVU and LSU. Both schools, he said, represent their respective states and have similar rabid fan bases.

“The nation looks at the success of the teams on the field. If the teams are doing well, then the state does well,” he said.

WVU’s influence on Marucci didn’t stop with education. He said the reputation of the athletic training program and the success of many its graduates have helped him throughout his career path.

“The network of WVU grads is great. They try to help each other out,” he said.

In his 16th season at LSU, Marucci oversees the athletic training operation for all 20 varsity sports, which includes supervising a staff of six full-time trainers and 10 graduate assistants. He helped design the Broussard Center for Athletic Training at Tiger Stadium as well as the one located in the Football Operations Building, which the football team operates out of on a daily basis.

Previously, he served as an assistant athletic trainer at Florida State from 1988-96, a stint that included eight bowl trips with the Seminoles. While in Tallahassee, he also served as the host trainer for two NCAA regional baseball tournaments. He was a graduate assistant trainer at the University of Alabama from 1986-88 and earned his master’s degree from there. He also worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987 and the Cleveland Browns in 1985.

LSU’s staff has accepted numerous WVU grads into its athletic training master’s program over the years and its staff also includes 1994 CPASS grad Shawn Eddy. Eddy, senior associate athletic trainer and head athletic trainer for the men’s basketball program, will also be in Morgantown this weekend.

Off the field, Marucci has mastered the art of crafting wooden baseball bats and founded his own company, the Marucci Bat Co. The company, which originally started with a workshop in his backyard, now has hundreds of Major Leaguers swinging its bats, including Albert Pujols, David Wright, Chase Utley, Brad Hawpe and the 2006 NL MVP and home run champion Ryan Howard. In July 2007, the Marucci Bat Co. was represented in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game by eight different players. Marucci and his bat company have been featured in numerous national publications including USA Today.



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