Chuck Howley spent 15 years in the NFL after completing a stellar athletic career at West Virginia University in the 1950s that is not likely to ever be duplicated.
As a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, he won a Super Bowl and earned individual and team and accolades that indicate the pinnacle of professional success. A letter-winner in five sports at WVU, he’s also known bitter defeats and disappointments, on the playing field and in business.
But being named to WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni reduced Howley to tears.
His fellow inductees Bob McNabb and Don Brodie also spoke from the heart about their experiences at WVU and what the University has meant to them personally and professionally.
Comments and reflections from each are featured in a video that contains interviews and highlights from Feb. 25 ceremony.
Frequently interrupting his speech to try to hold back his emotions, Howley joked, “You know ? it’s really easy to play football.”
He later added, “What did WVU provide me? It provided me with a lot of the leadership and perseverance that one needs to achieve the ultimate goal—and that’s to win.”
Brodie, who established a family-owned business, Purolite, in 1981 and took it global, recalled an unannounced visit to his home from John Schnable, former associate dean at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Brodie said Schnable was the catalyst for his re-connection to the University.
Since that meeting, Brodie and his wife Linda have established several programs, including the Brodie Discovery and Innovation Fund for students and faculty at the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences. The Brodies’ gift enriches research endeavors of students and faculty in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry.
“For myself and my family, my wife Linda, we’ve always believed in education,” he said. “There are a lot of worthy causes out there but you know what a good education cures so many ills in today’s world. Linda and I have had such good fortune in our life that we want to share it and give back to others. Part of it is giving to the University and part of it is giving to society. My wish is to continue with active participation at WVU so that we can carry on this cycle.”
McNabb recalled the many friends he met at the University and the variety of people who have helped him succeed throughout his life, from Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden, who became a life-long friend, to a librarian, whom he said, frequently woke him up after late-night study sessions in Wise Library’s stacks. Former WVU President David Hardesty and wife Susan Brown Hardesty are also lifelong friends he met while at the University.
“I’ve been CEO of three companies,” McNabb said. “I’ve traveled all around the world. I’ve been published, interviewed in multiple countries, and I’ve always had a philosophy about life and business as a leader. I believe people want two things in life: they want to win and they want to be loved.
“West Virginia University taught me how to win and I was loved through the process. (WVU) loved Bob McNabb.”
CONTACT: Tara Curtis; WVU Alumni Association
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