Outstanding Alumnus never misses a game

October 08, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY


Cal Ripken started for the Baltimore Orioles in 2,632 straight games. Brett Favre has been the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in every game played since Sept. 27, 1992.

Martinsburg attorney and Outstanding 2005 West Virginia University Alumnus Rick Pill has his own streak - he has not missed a home Mountaineers football game for the last 42 years.

"This year will be 43 if I make it," said Pill, who is to be honored as the university's alumnus of the year during a homecoming parade next Friday and is to be recognized during halftime of the WVU-Louisville game on Saturday, Oct. 15.


He received the award for his distinguished career and for his continued involvement with various university-related organizations and activities.

Pill, 53, received a bachelor's degree in business administration from WVU in 1973 and returned to the university in 1974 to earn his law degree.

Since 1977 he has been a partner with the law firm of Pill & Pill. He and his law partner, his brother David Pill, specialize in real estate matters.

Pill also serves as a member of the Berkeley County Board of Education and is the president and a member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Bar Association.

Pill said he was surprised when he received a call recently from the university notifying him that he had been chosen as the year's outstanding alumnus.

"I had no idea that was going to happen at all," he said.

WVU has been an integral part of the Pill family, which hails from Morgantown, W.Va. Pill's brothers graduated from the university and his father attended it. One of Pill's three daughters, Shannon, is a WVU graduate and is now president of the New York/New Jersey chapter of the Alumni Association. Another daughter, Jessica, is a junior at WVU.

Pill's third daughter, Christy, opted to attend the University of Richmond because of its dance program.

"She's young. She still may end up going to WVU someday," Pill said jovially.

Pill is a prominent member of the university's Woodburn Circle Society, an organization that provides endowed scholarships to students. He also has worked with the WVU Athletic Club Development Council and the Eastern Panhandle Mountaineer Fan Club.

He served as president of the Eastern Panhandle Chapter of the WVU Alumni Association and was a member of the WVU Alumni Association board of directors from 1997 to 2002.

Every year Pill and his family host a Mountaineer Parents Club Summer Send-off at their home. This past summer, nearly 100 students from Berkeley and Morgan counties attended.

He said he continues to give back to the university because it's rewarding.

"It's rewarding to help individuals and organizations that have helped you, and it continues to be rewarding," he said

For Pill, attending WVU - which cost $160 a semester when he started - was an important step not only in his education, but also in his social life.

People he met at the university have remained lifelong friends, he said.

He said he always knew he would attend WVU, not only because he was living in Morgantown and because it was inexpensive.

"That's where I really wanted to go. Absolutely no consideration (was given to another college or university)," he said.

As for his football streak, it started his father took him to games as a boy. In junior high school and high school he sold sodas to gain free admission, and he did not miss a game during his eight years as a WVU student.

Because West Virginia has no major cities or professional sports teams, many residents, even those who never attended WVU, find themselves rooting for the Mountaineers.

"The difference with WVU is, I think, people feel it is truly a state representative university," Pill said. "People feel that it represents them."

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