It's home to West Virginia University, whose football team has
been coached by such greats as Earle (Greasy) Neale, Bobby Bowden
and Don Nehlen and has produced 153 NFL draftees, including 14
Pro Bowl players.
2 Rich Braham
The Bengals' longtime lineman played his college ball in his
hometown of Morgantown, where he was the Mountaineers' MVP and an
All-America in 1993.
3 Vicky Bullett
The former WNBA All-Star center, who retired last month, was a
U.S. Olympian in 1988 and '92. She grew up in Martinsburg and is
the alltime leading scorer at the University of Maryland.
4 Upper Gauley River
With its ferocious drops and gut-busting Class V+ (highest
category) rapids, this rafting mecca is often cited as one of the
top 10 white-water rivers in the world. It descends more than 335
feet in less than nine miles.
5 White Sulphur Springs
Home to Oakhurst Links, which claims to be America's first
organized golf club (1884) and was reopened in 1994 after more
than 80 years of abandonment. Players are required to use replica
hickory-shafted clubs and gutta-percha balls.
6 Bimbo Coles
The 13-year NBA guard from Lewisburg is Virginia Tech's career
7 Rod Thorn
The Nets G.M. and former league executive played eight NBA
seasons. When the Princeton native was a hotly recruited high
schooler, the state legislature declared him a "natural resource"
of the state to encourage him to stay at home; he became an
All-America for the Mountaineers.
8 Christy Martin
Nicknamed the Coal Miner's Daughter, the Mullens native was a
pioneer in women's boxing; in 1996 she became the first female
boxer to grace the cover of SI.
9 Curt Warner
The running back from Pineville set 41 school records at Penn
State and ranks second on the Seahawks' career rushing list.
10 Gino Marchetti
Named the top defensive end of the NFL's first 50 years, the
11-time Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Colts was born in Smithers.
During World War II, his family was moved to a California
detention camp because his father was an Italian immigrant.
11 Jason Williams
The Grizzlies' point guard and former Marshall and Florida star
hails from Belle and played basketball with Randy Moss at DuPont
12 Randy Moss
The Vikings' wideout and Rand native was a state high school
player of the year in football and basketball.
13 Hot Rod Hundley
The Charleston native and longtime voice of the Jazz was a
flashy, three-time All-America guard at West Virginia and the
first pick (by the Cincinnati Royals) in the 1957 NBA draft.
Home to Marshall University, it is West Virginia's SI Sportstown,
for having the state's best community sports programs.
COLOR PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER SMITH (UPPER GAULEY RIVER) The Upper Gauley's Pillow Rock Rapid.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: MAP ILLUSTRATION BY JOE ZEFF CHARLESTON