The Joe Retton Arena is undergoing a $1.5 million renovation that honors a man who's been called the 'Godfather of Fairmont State Basketball.'
"There is so many names, behind that name that make it so unique. And I mean it from the hart," said retired basketball coach Joe Retton. "If it wasn't for my players, you fans out there and the baking from the college where would I be? So there are many names behind the name Joe Retton."
Fairmont State opened the Feaster Center in 1978. Joe Retton coached for just a few seasons inside the building that is now named after him, but the structure will always remind us of his legacy.
"There is a reason the arena is names after him," said Fairmont men's basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun. "There is a reason so many people admire him. There is a reason I have a great relationship with him... There will never ever be another Joe Retton here."
In 19 years he led teams to 478-94 record. By winning percentage he's college basketball's winningest coach.
"We played a defense that was kind of confusing," said Retton.
In 1981 Sport Illustrated described the scheme as “80 percent zone, 20 percent man-to-man and 100 percent confounding.”
Great defenses helped Retton's teams win 12 regular season conference championships, 8 conference tournament titles, 12 national tournament appearances and a national championship game.
"When you players think you know something, and they buy into the program, that's the key," said Retton, "and they bought into it."
Retton retired from the sideline after the 1981-82 season.
Fairmont dedicated the court in 2000.
Now 83, Joe Retton remains a familiar face on campus and in the gym.
"They know what he did back in the day for those 19 years," said Calhoun. "Anytime you do the things he did there is a huge amount of respect and I think our players understand that."
"I'm very grateful to Fairmont State College," said Retton, "and the people that backed us up, and of course all of the players. they all gave us something. And when they gave it to you, and believed in you, it made it right."