West Virginia

1979 Mountaineers
(Authentic Reproduction)




Entering what would prove to be Cignetti's final year, partisans were excited about the new stadium construction and helmet design. Returning to the white shell last used in 1972, Cignetti retained the side decals of a football-shaped yellow decal with WVU in blue within it, superimposed over a blue silhouette of the state of West Virginia. However, there was  concern about the head coach's fight with cancer which became publicly known during the off-season as his weight dropped from 215 to 168 pounds. As the new stadium neared completion, hopes and expectations were high although '78's part-time starting QB Dutch Hoffman left school. Three losses were followed by four wins as Alexander finally hit his stride and finished as the team's leading rusher, with frosh Curlin Beck also rushing well. The combination of QB Luck throwing to Cedric Thomas and Darrell Miller provided the offense but the team could not win consistently in the stretch. Chowan JC transfer Jerry Holmes was a rock at DB and later for the Jets among others in the NFL but the year would end with a third 5-6 finish in Cignett's four year span and he was fired, "moving up" as an administrative assistant to the AD before returning to his alma mater, Indiana University Of Pennsylvania, to become one of the all-time best coaches in the lower division levels. Cignetti's recruiting of Darryl Talley who played DE his first year, and others paved the way for what was to follow and his WVA legacy also includes a staff that included current Dolphin Head Coach Nick Saban, and long-time NFL assistants Greg Williams and Joe Pendry. Sons Curt and Frank are currently successful college assistants. As the seventies ended, WVA would be entering its most successful period of football play and national recognition although no one could have predicted that at the time. 

If interested in any of these WVA helmets please click on the photos below.