I LOOOOOOOOOOVE college basketball. Like way too much. I could tell you every college’s mascot. Seriously, it’s that pathetic. I could tell you what seed Cleveland State was in the 2009 NCAA tournament (#13) and who they beat in the first round (Wake Forest). I used to literally jerk it to “One Shining Moment.” I just would be watching the final game with my friends and then Greg Gumbel shows up on screen with his little “And now for a tournament tradition” spiel and then the next thing you know … the ball isn’t the only thing being tipped. Sorry, but I love college basketball.
There was something I loved more than college basketball itself though and that something was former West Virginia power forward Kevin Pittsnogle. Holy sh*t was Kevin Pittsnogle awesome. That big, goofy white guy with the crazy name and strange tattoos that looked more like a guy who cooked meth in his parents basement than a three-point assassin with no regard for humanity (and I say that with all due respect, looks can be deceiving). This guy was the definition of everything that made college basketball so great ten years ago.
2005 NCAA Tournament
I’ll never forget when #7 West Virginia upset Chris Paul and #2 Wake Forest in the second round. This was when “You’ve been Pittsnogled” became a thing. This was the birth of Pittsnogle. Here’s the game in it’s entirety:
I don’t blame you if you watched every second of this video, but if you don’t have time to watch a full college basketball game that happened over ten years ago and just want some ClutchNogle action, then skip to the 1:40:50 mark.
I remember this team like it was yesterday. Pittsnogle, Mike Gansey, Johannes Herber, head coach John Belein’s son, Patrick Belein. These guys could shoot lights out. What I remember most though is how everybody was freaking out about this big, goofy 6’11” guy wearing a jersey five sizes too big with all these weird tattoos that could straight up drain treys and had a swag about him that just couldn’t be put in to words. It seemed like everyone loved this guy and so did I.
Pittsnogle followed up the Wake Forest upset with a 22-point game in the Sweet Sixteen against Texas Tech and then a heroic 25-point effort in an Elite Eight loss to Louisville. Nobody will ever forget Pittsnogle’s senior season though in 2006.
2006 NCAA Tournament
Pittsnogle truly broke out in his senior season averaging close to 19 points per game in his first full season as a starter. On the verge of making their second consecutive Elite Eight appearance, the Mountaineers needed some more PittsMagic and they got it with five seconds left in the game.
Of course, Pittsnogle’s career ended in absolute heartbreak as Texas’ Kenton Paulino answered his game-tying three-pointer with a buzzer-beating three of his own. Head high though Pittsnogle, your were the best.
Pittsnogle never made it in professional basketball and like so many before him, his name will only live on college basketball lore. What a name to live on though. Kevin Pittsnogle.
Pittsnogle played professionally briefly from 2006-2008 and then — according to Busted Coverage — became a middle school teacher in 2009, but didn’t give up on his dream of playing professionally. Unfortunately, Pittsnogle failed to latch on anywhere and — as of 2013 — he was selling Jeeps at a car dealership in his hometown of Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Married with five kids, the 31-year-old Pittsnogle is just a normal guy working at a car dealership and looking to provide for his family. Few normal guys just working at car dealerships and looking to provide for their families have ever drained treys in the NCAA Tournament like Kevin Pittsnogle has though.
One thing will never change. Pittsnogle will always be a legend of the NCAA tournament and one of the icons from my time loving college basketball. I’ll probably note the 20th and 25th and 30th anniversaries of Kevin Pittsnogle and each time I will say that I can’t believe it’s been that long.
Well, we are quickly approaching a Pittsnogle-less decade of college basketball as this year’s Sweet Sixteen will mark ten years since we last saw Kevin Pittsnogle on college hardwood. I can’t believe it’s been that long and as far as I’m concerned, it’s been ten years too long.
Please come back, Pittsnogle!