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WVU Tech unveils new Barrett-Kelley Athletic Hall of Fame

From left to right: Kenny Howell, Carolyn Barrett, Pete Kelley, Carolyn Long and Rob Moyer.

WVU Tech kicked off homecoming athletics on Friday evening with a crowd of more than 60 fans. They weren't cheering players on the pitch, court or field, though. These spectators were celebrating the opening of the new Barrett-Kelley Athletic Hall of Fame.

The facility has been undergoing renovations all semester. After more than 3,000 hours of work by WVU Tech's Facilities Management department, the completed hall contains multiple display spaces featuring trophies, hall of fame inductee plaques and other athletic memorabilia from Tech's decades in athletics.

"This institution has a rich and spirited athletic history," said WVU Tech Athletic Director Kenny Howell. "It's only proper that we have a space that can live up to that. This is a place where we honor Golden Bears from our past, our present and our future."

The hall is more than a place to keep treasures. With office and meeting areas, Howell said it will function as a multi-use space for recruit signings, open houses, prospect visits and special events.

"We want everybody in the WVU Tech community to see this place as an extension of campus. When they're using this space, they're interacting with our history and keeping it alive in the day-to-day," said Howell.

The original Hall of Fame on WVU Tech's Montgomery campus was established with support from the Kelley family. Pete Kelley is a former WVU Tech athletic director, a longstanding Golden Bear Athletic Club member and a public education professional with decades in the field. He and his wife Sue supported the construction of the new hall and were in attendance at its opening.

“Thank you for preserving the history of Tech," said Pete. "We see this as a bridge to the future."

The Barrett family has also joined in the effort to christen the new hall in Beckley. A powerhouse in Golden Bear history, the late Michael "Bird Man" Barrett is noted for being a member of the gold medal-winning 1968 United States men's national basketball team. The WVU Tech grad went on to play professionally for a number of teams and is a member of the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. His wife Carolyn was instrumental in the completion of the new hall.

“The only thing I would change is to have Mike here tonight,” said Barrett. She said the hall was everything she could have hoped for. 

"We're so grateful to the Barrett and Kelley families, who have shown an incredible passion and enthusiasm for Golden Bear athletics for so many years. These are some of our greatest fans, and I can't think of anyone more fitting to be the namesake of this Hall of Fame," said Howell.

"Our community has a new place to honor the legacy of some very talented Golden Bears because of their love for the game - and for our college community."

The hall will be open to the public by appointment. Visitors can email Howell at kenneth.howell@mail.wvu.edu.

View photos from the ceremony on Flickr